At least one person has died and 19 were injured after a vehicle ploughed into anti-fascist protesters opposing a major white nationalist march planned for this weekend.
“White nationalists had assembled in Charlottesville to vent their frustration against the city’s plans to take down a statue of Confederal Gen. Robert E. Lee“.
Hundreds were in Charlottesville either to demonstrate in or rail against a “Unite the Right Rally”, one day after hundreds of torch-bearing marchers demonstrated at the normally tranquil city’s university campus.
Video footage from the demonstration showed anti-racism protesters waving flags from the Black Lives Matter movement, as crowds chanted slogans like “We say no to racist fear” and “No Nazis, no KKK, no fascist USA”.
A 20-year-old man has been arrested in the USA state of Virginia, accused of driving his auto into a crowd of protesters and killing a woman. Police said there were multiple injuries, though the severity is unknown.
Asked for clarification, a White House official later said: “The President was condemning hatred, bigotry and violence from all sources and all sides”.
The scenes in Virginia were similar to others that happened around far-right protests at Berkeley, California, and Portland, Oregon.
Between rally attendees and counter-protesters, authorities were expecting as many as 6000 people, Charlottesville police said this week.
President Donald Trump called the series of events awful, but was criticized for not providing a full-throated condemnation of the white nationalist elements of the protests, which included former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan David Duke and white nationalist leader Richard Spencer.
The chief executive called for a “swift restoration of law and order” in Virginia. The demonstrators then clashed with counter-protesters. It’s been going on for a long time in our country.
Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signer said he was disgusted that the white nationalists had come to his town and blamed Trump for inflaming racial prejudices.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan issued a stronger statement on his Facebook page, saying: “Violence, hate, and bigotry of all kinds must be confronted and condemned”. Go home. You are not wanted in this great commonwealth.
If he comes out and condemns actual white supremacy, he loses the only part of his base that remains: white nationalists and other right-wing nut jobs who hate minorities and regularly vote against their own self-interests.
During the 2016 election, Trump was endorsed by David Duke, the former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan who also attended Saturday’s rally.