The mayor of Charlottesville has blamed Trump's election for emboldening white nationalist and far-right protesters after violence broke out in the town on Saturdayby Stephanie Boland / August 12, 2017 / Leave a comment
A state of emergency has been declared in the town of Charlottesville, Virginia after violence erupted at a “Unite the Right” rally. Clashes broke out between right-wing groups and antifascist counter-protestors ahead of the scheduled meeting.
The Associated Press now reports that a car has been driven into a group of counter-protestors, with those at the scene saying the act was deliberate. [Warning: distressing video.]
The rally was anticipated to gather together white nationalist and right-wing groups, reportedly in response to the town’s decision to remove “symbols of its Confederate past.”
It has now been cancelled after violence broke out on Saturday afternoon.
According to the New York Times, Friday night saw “hundreds of white nationalists” gathered in Charlottesville:
Waving Confederate flags, chanting Nazi-era slogans, wearing helmets and carrying shields, they converged on a statue of Robert E. Lee in the city’s Emancipation Park and began chanting phrases like “You will not replace us,” and “Jew will not replace us.”
One widely-circulated photograph attributed to Friday night’s march appears to show several participants performing Nazi salutes.
Tell me more about how political correctness is destroying America pic.twitter.com/Zqn3gNUbNb
— Don Moynihan (@donmoyn) August 12, 2017
President Trump has tweeted calling on Americans to “condemn all that hate stands for” and “come together as one.” His post made no mention of the specific nature of the march—a detail which was immediately noted and critiqued on social media.
Meanwhile, American journalists have shared footage of David Duke, a convicted felon and former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, saying that the rally “fulfils the promises” of Trump.
— Joanna Robinson (@jowrotethis) August 12, 2017
The mayor of Charlottesville, Michael Signer, has said that Trump has helped inflame racial tensions, saying “I place the blame for a lot of what you’re seeing in America today right at the doorstep of the White House and the people around the president.”
Several journalists have also shared photographs and footage of what they say are armed militia groups, who apparently arrived ahead of the rally. (It is not necessary to acquire a permit to purchase or carry a firearm in the state of Virginia.)
— Craig Stanley (@_CraigStanley) August 12, 2017
One photograph, shared by Huffington Post reporter Christopher Mathias, shows an inter-faith group standing opposite what appears to be one of these militias. The group includes Dr Cornel West, a philosopher and political activist who is best known for his work on racial politics.
— Christopher Mathias (@letsgomathias) August 12, 2017
For many Americans, this is simply the latest incident which proves white nationalist and far-right groups have become emboldened during the past ten months.
In a statement regarding the emergency declaration, Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe said that he has been “disgusted by the hatred, bigotry and violence these protestors have brought to our state over the past 24 hours.”
Below is the Governor's statement regarding the emergency declaration he authorized this morning: pic.twitter.com/yS1E9mispG
— Terry McAuliffe (@GovernorVA) August 12, 2017
The mayor of Charlottesville has confirmed that there has been at least one death following the apparent vehicle attack on protestors.
Now read Toni Morrison on the long history of America’s racial prejudice.