On Friday night, hundreds of marchers descended on the University of Virginia carrying torches and yelling slogans “white lives matter” and “blood and soil”.
Protests turned violent in Charlottesville on Saturday, as white supremacists clashed with counterdemonstrators and a car ploughed into a crowd of anti-racist and anti-fascist demonstrators.
Here is what we know.
- A “Unite the Right” rally was planned for Friday August 11 to protest against the removal of the statue of Confederate icon General Robert E Lee.
- Described as one of the largest white supremacist events in recent US history, it was organised by Jason Kessler, a former journalist and a member of the Proud Boys, an ultra-nationalist group.
- Protesters gathered again on Saturday August 12 and clashed with counter-demonstrators.
- At 11:28am a local state of emergency was declared by the City of Charlottesville and the County of Albemarle.
- At 1:42pm a speeding car rammed into counter-demonstrators.
- The speeding car, a Dodge Challenger, fled the scene but was soon located and stopped by Police.
- Later in the afternoon, a police helicopter crashed while en route to the rally, though officials did not elaborate the details.
This took place in Charlottesville, a university town of 46,000 people, in the state of Virginia, US.
Charlottesville has become a focal point of the resurgent white supremacist movement after officials there voted to take down a statue of the Confederate General Robert E Lee.
- The driver of the car, 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr was arrested shortly after the incident, and has charged with second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding, and one count of hit-and-run.
- In connection with the events at Charlottesville today, Police made three more arrests.
- 21-year-old Troy Dunigan and charged him with disorderly conduct.
- 21-year-old Jacob L. Smith was also arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault and battery.
- 44-year-old James M. O’brien was arrested and charged with carrying a concealed gun.
- 32-year-old Heather Heyer died following the car ramming.
- Lieutenant Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Bates that were on-board of the crashed helicopter died.
- 35 people were injured at the rally, 19 confirmed by the hospital in Charlottesville.
Police intervened after clashes broke out and dispersed the crowd, and Governor Payne declared a state of emergency.
The Governor’s office also urged all members of the community to stay home this evening.
Governor McAuliffe has declared a state of emergency to aid state response to violence at Alt-Right rally in Charlottesville
— Terry McAuliffe (@GovernorVA) August 12, 2017
On Saturday, US President Donald Trump condemned the clashes in Charlottesville in a Twitter post:
We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Lets come together as one!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 12, 2017
Senator Bernie Sanders, also condemned the clashes and said “it was a reprehensible display of racism and hatred”.
The white nationalist demonstration in #Charlottesville is a reprehensible display of racism and hatred that has no place in our society.
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) August 12, 2017
Senator Cory Gardner a labelled them as “domestic terrorism”:
Mr. President – we must call evil by its name. These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism. https://t.co/PaPNiPPAoW
— Cory Gardner (@SenCoryGardner) August 12, 2017
What happens next?
- Local state of emergency.
- FBI launched its own investigation into the incident.
- A fundraising campaign for the family of a woman killed in a car-ramming attack in the US town of Charlottesville has raised tens of thousands of dollars.
Source: Al Jazeera News