After at least one person was killed in Virginia following violent clashes between white nationalists and counter protesters, former US president Barack Obama took to Twitter on Sunday to express his thoughts on race and religion. Quoting anti-apartheid politician Nelson Mandela, Obama wrote that “no one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion.”
In a series of three tweets, Obama shared his thoughts on race and religion in the wake of the violent clashes that injured at least 20 others. “People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite – Nelson Mandela,” Obama tweeted with a photo of himself interacting with kids from different racial backgrounds.
On Saturday, a 32-year-old woman was killed after a car plowed into a group of peaceful protesters demonstrating against what was touted to be one of the biggest white nationalist rallies in a decade.
Two Virginia policeman also lost their lives nearby following a helicopter crash near the protest site in Charlottesville, Virginia. The two had assisted in efforts to contain the clashes. A state of emergency has been declared by the authorities and security forces have been deployed in the area in riot gears.
President Donald Trump faced backlash for failing to denounce the far right rally. He said “many sides” were involved in the Charlottesville incidents, which is perhaps the first domestic crisis of his 7-month-old administration. “We’re closely following the terrible events unfolding in Charlottesville, Virginia,” Trump told reporters. “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides.”
The ‘Unite the Right’ rally by white nationalists was held to protest against the planned removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E Lee from a park in the college town of Charlottesville. The state’s governor Terry McAuliffe blamed neo-Nazis for sparking the unrest in Charlottesville where rival groups fought pitched battles using rocks and pepper spray over the removal on the statue. “I have a message to all the white supremacists and the Nazis who came into Charlottesville today. Our message is plain and simple: go home,” the Democrat was quoted as saying by Reuters. “You are not wanted in this great commonwealth. Shame on you,” he said.