Published: Sun, August 13, 2017
World | By Carl Welch

White nationalists, counter-protesters clash in Charlottesville, Va.

White nationalists, counter-protesters clash in Charlottesville, Va.

A vehicle plowed into a crowd of counter-protesters at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday afternoon, killing one person and injuring 19 others, according to officials.

The mayor of Charlottesville said via Twitter on Saturday that he is "heartbroken" to announce that a "life has been lost". When I think of torches, I want to think of the Statue of Liberty.

Fighting broke out in the city's downtown before noon when hundreds of people, some wearing white nationalist symbols and carrying Confederate battle flags, were confronted by a almost equal number of counter-protesters.

Officers clash with counter protesters after the Ku Klux Klan staged a protest on July 8, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Hundreds of torch-wielding white supremacists marched through the University of Virginia campus, chanting racist slogans and clashing with a small group of counter-demonstrators. Police in riot gear tried to quell the crowd with tear gas and the governer declared a state of emergency. Police estimate as many as 2,000 to 6,000 people will attend the rally on Saturday. "As long as that expression is peaceful, that is their right".

U.S. President Donald Trump, on a working vacation at his New Jersey golf club, condemned the violence and urged Americans to "come together as one".

Trump, on a working vacation at his New Jersey golf club, had meant to speak briefly at a ceremony marking the signing of bipartisan legislation to aid veterans, but he quickly found that those plans were overtaken by the escalating violence in the Virginia college town. There is no place for this kind of violence in America.

A Twitter user also shared a picture of the varsity students protesting against the white nationalists.

Local media reports and social media accounts claimed that demonstrators were chanting: "One people, one nation, end immigration".

The "Unite the Right" rally, which was organized by members of the so-called alt-right, were supposed to be protesting the planned removal of a statue honoring Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in the city's Emancipation Park.

The ACLU of Virginia and the Rutherford Institute requested that the decision be reversed via a letter citing First Amendment rights stating, "The city must act in accordance with the law, even if doing so is distasteful to members of the community who disagree with the views espoused by the "Unite the Right" organizers".

"Kessler sued, saying the change was a free speech violation".

Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, who won the Virginia Democratic gubernatorial primary over progressive hopeful Tom Perriello in June, released a statement ahead of the rally condemning white supremacists and asking others not to respond with violence.

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