Mimi Arbeit, an organizer of the planned counter-protests, rejected Kessler's argument that the rally was about freedom of speech.
"I want to urge my fellow Virginians who may consider joining either in support or opposition to the planned rally to make alternative plans", said McAuliffe.
"It is also the right of every American to deny those ideas more attention than they deserve", said McAuliffe.
Thousands of people are expected at the Unite the Right rally being held at Emancipation Park, formerly known as Lee Park. Kessler refused to budge, insisting the rally needed to be held at the site of the statue because its removal is "about white genocide".
The city claimed that this was a result of the high number of expected attendees, and not because of public pressure to stop the rally from taking place, Claire Gastañaga, executive director of the ACLU of Virginia, told ABC News. I expect that most of the individuals who participate in tomorrow's events will honor that proud legacy by expressing their views safely and respectfully.
Police Chief Alfred Thomas with the Charlottesville Police Department says there is a lot of anxiety in the community but says his department is ready to keep people safe.
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City Attorney S. Craig Brown disagreed, saying the statements were simply councilors exercising their First Amendment rights. "We have determined that we can not do all of these things effectively if the demonstration is held in Emancipation Park".
When Kessler applied for the permit on May 30, he proposed the event as a "free speech rally in support of the Lee monument", according to Jones' affidavit.
Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer released a statement referring to Friday's rally as a "cowardly parade of hatred, bigotry, racism, and intolerance march down the lawns of the architect of our Bill of Rights". Earlier this year, the city council voted to rename the park and move the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
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This time the extreme right hopes to have a stronger showing thanks to the presence of various leaders of the "alt-right" movement that has been emboldened by Donald Trump's ascent to the White House.