At least one dead as US white nationalists clash with counter-protesters in Virginia

A 32-year-old female was among those killed, said Charlottesville Police Chief Al Thomas, and injuries ranged from life-threatening to minor.

By: Reuters | Charlottesville | Published:August 13, 2017 5:52 am
Virginia city, Virginia city protest, Virginia city emergency, Protest in virginia, White nationalists protest in US, Virginia city news, Iternational news, world news, US news, A vehicle drives into a group of protesters demonstrating against a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Source: AP)

At least one person died and 30 were injured in a day of violent clashes between white nationalists and counter-protesters in Virginia on Saturday, with the state’s governor blaming the neo-Nazis for sparking the violence and demanding that they go home.

Two people also died when a Virginia State Police helicopter crashed near the violence in Charlottesville, federal aviation officials said. It was not clear if the crash was related to the outbreak of clashes in the Southern college town, where protesters fought hundreds of white supremacists trying to halt the planned removal of a Confederate statue from a park.

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, declared an emergency and halted a white nationalist rally, while President Donald Trump condemned the violence. “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,” Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe told a news conference. “You are not wanted in this great commonwealth. Shame on you,” he said.

The clashes highlight how the white supremacist movement has resurfaced under the “alt-right” banner after years in the shadows of mainstream American politics. “We’re closely following the terrible events unfolding in Charlottesville, Virginia,” Trump told reporters at his New Jersey golf course. “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides.”

A reporter shouted a question to Trump about whether he had spoken out strongly enough against white nationalists but the president made no comment. A 32-year-old woman died when a car slammed into a crowd in Charlottesville, home to the University of Virginia, police said. Five people suffered critical injuries and four had serious injuries from the car strike, the University of Virginia Health System said.

Video on social media and Reuters photographs showed a car slamming into a large group of what appeared to be counter-protesters, sending some flying into the air. The driver of the car, an unidentified man, has been taken into custody and the incident is being treated as a homicide, Charlottesville Police Chief Al Thomas told a news conference. The incident occurred after earlier clashes nearby.


Prominent Democrats, civil rights activists and even a few Republicans said it was inexcusable of the president not to denounce white supremacy. “Mr. President – we must call evil by its name,” Republican U.S. Senator Cory Gardner, wrote on Twitter.

“These were white supremacists and this was domestic,” said Gardner, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the group charged with helping to get Republicans elected to the Senate.

Former US Secretary of State John Kerry, who served under Democratic former President Barack Obama, said in a tweet: “What we’ve seen today in Charlottesville needs to be condemned and called what it is: hatred, evil, racism & homegrown extremism,”

The Charlottesville confrontation was a stark reminder of the growing political polarization that has intensified since Trump’s election last year.

“You will not erase us,” chanted a crowd of white nationalists, while counter-protesters carried placards that read: “Nazi go home” and “Smash white supremacy.”

In the afternoon, a silver sedan driving at high speed plowed into the crowd before reversing along the same street. The incident took place about two blocks from the park that houses the statue of Robert E. Lee, who headed the Confederate army in the American Civil War.

Witnesses said it looked like the driver intended to mow down people. Police have not offered any details on the car incident.

Scott Stroney, 50, a catering sales director at the University of Virginia who arrived at the scene about a minute after the crash, said he was horrified. “I started to cry. I couldn’t talk for awhile,” he said. “It was just hard to watch, hard to see. It’s heartbreaking,” he said.

In declaring the state of emergency, McAuliffe said the gathering was declared an “unlawful assembly,” allowing police to disperse the protesters, and police cleared the park where the rally was to be held.

The violence began on Friday night, when hundreds of white marchers with blazing torches appeared at the campus of the University of Virginia in a display that critics said was reminiscent of a Ku Klux Klan rally

On Saturday morning, fighting broke out in the city’s downtown when hundreds of people, some wearing white nationalist symbols and carrying Confederate battle flags, were confronted by a nearly equal number of counter-protesters.

David Duke, a former leader of the white supremacist Ku Klux Klan, was in Charlottesville for the rally, according to his Twitter account. The rally was part of a persistent debate in the U.S. South over the display of the Confederate battle flag and other symbols of the rebel side in the Civil War, which was fought over the issue of slavery.

The violence in Charlottesville is the latest clash between far-rightists, some of whom have claimed allegiance to Trump, and the president’s opponents since his inauguration in January, when black-clad anti-Trump protesters in Washington smashed windows, torched cars and clashed with police, leading to more than 200 arrests. About two dozen people were arrested in Charlottesville in July when the Ku Klux Klan rallied against the proposed removal of the Lee statue. Torch-wielding white nationalists also demonstrated against the decision in May.

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  1. T
    Aug 13, 2017 at 2:39 pm
    They are not white supremacists. The correct term is white separatists. They do not hate anyone. They are concerned about the dispossession of white people and our ancestors. Imagine Africans, Arabs or Chinese pouring into India. Imagine if your government facilitated this mass immigration. Imagine if your government was controlled by very rich non-Indians. These non-Indians were determined to make you a minority in your own country to reduce your power and increase theirs. This is what is happening in the U.S. and Europe. And, to be fair Indians are being used to further this diabolical agenda. There is huge Indian immigration into all white countries and this is a massive problem for us. The ignorance in the posts here is understandable given the fact that the western media is controlled by the group who are trying to make us minorities in our own countries.
    1. S
      Aug 13, 2017 at 7:53 pm
      And where did you migrate from ? Obviously you are not native american....
      1. U
        Aug 14, 2017 at 1:34 pm
        They are like Muslim invaders of India. Muslim invaders got the separate nation called Islamic Republic of Pakistan but still stayed in India to terrorize. Native Americans were cleansed by them just like Muslim invader Terrorists cleansed Hindus in Kashmir. Baber Muslim invader tomb is symbol of enslavement of Hindus slaves just like this statue is for black slavary. Hindu population survived by being slaves to Muslim invaders and paying Hindu survival tax. Native American Indians were fierce freedom fighting people became almost extinct by constant war and even committing suicides for freedom . African slaves were brought for plantation work because Europeans could not subjugate native American Indians soul to slavary work! But history was not erased or glorified like Congress party did in India! Fault lies with in Indian civilization!
    2. K
      Kushal Kumar
      Aug 13, 2017 at 2:07 pm
      News reports on 12 August say that communities belonging to different races turned violent in Virginia State , which has obviously caused concern in US. Relevant to this news report is this Vedic astrology writer’s alerts of September 2017 for more care and appropriate straegy in article - “ Astrological probable alerts for US in 2017” - published last year in December 2016 issue of wisdom-magazine . While predicting that August- September in 2017 may be presenting major worrisome concerns in US , it was also said : -“ Briefly speaking , there is a need to take recourse to restraint among different communities and races”. So the violent incident of 12 August in Virginia , looks to be pointing to meaningfulness of the alert of this writer.
      1. K
        Aug 13, 2017 at 11:52 am
        Trump and Bannon are personally responsible for this terror attack by a redneck.
        1. M
          Aug 13, 2017 at 8:37 am
          "Trump -- once again -- fails to condemn the alt-right, white supremacists" "Modi fails to condemn many times over the "Lynching of Dalits and Minorities" by RSS goons". Tow sides of same coin called "Majoritarianism"
          1. U
            Aug 14, 2017 at 2:05 pm
            Ok! Then in India Muslim supremist Terrorists cleansed Hindus in Kashmir! Which side of the coin ? Ansari! I do not support RSS. Two side of the coin ? Not so fast ! First one Blacks do not have separate nation exclusively for Blacks! The protest is for slavary symbol removal not for religion based! Or what meat ?! You cannot buy dog meat in Virginia China Town!
          2. M
            Aug 13, 2017 at 8:32 am
            The other side of the coin called "majoritarianism" (as in India under Modi) in USA. Listen to this video from CNN against the socalled nationalists: : edition.cnn /2017/08/12/us/charlottesville-white-nationalists-rally/index .
            1. U
              Aug 14, 2017 at 2:48 pm
              What is going on in Virginia is different from India oh fully educated one who designed first supersonic jet aircraft and a first microwave oven! Take a historical tour of Han China ! Oho ! New Aristotle of new Modern India! Ameicans can take care of themselves and they evolve in their civilization! White Americans fought white American to Abolish black slavary! What happened to Hindus in. Kashmir? Did your Muhammad save Hindus in Kashmir or fought against Tikka Khan of 1971!
            2. M
              Aug 13, 2017 at 8:27 am
              Trump and his supporters (half educated white supremacists) are doing what Modi and his supporters (half educated Hindi speaking upper castes) are doing in India. Both call themselves as nationalists and stamp everybody else as anti-nationalists.
              1. U
                Aug 13, 2017 at 4:32 pm
                In Kashmir Muslim Terrorists supremist cleansed inferior Hindus! Go and get lessons in History! What are you doing in India? Freedom to Muslim Terrorists supremist to kill Hindus just like Kashmir? Even after giving land to form Islamic Republic Republic of Pakistan?
              2. N
                Aug 13, 2017 at 7:22 am
                Brahmin American Foundation which is COWARDLY CALLING ITSELF HINDU American Foundation(HAF) has SECRET ties with the Rightists. Brahmins RSS TERRORISTS are sent there by INDIA RSS TERRORIST for training in arms and ammunitions like they are trained in Israel!
                1. L
                  Lateef Khan
                  Aug 13, 2017 at 7:12 am
                  With a trumpbat the helm....what do you expect? PseudoNationalists will raise their ugly heads in this form. Under the fake bogey of Nationalism such setups come to power whereas they are the variant form of s.....the crooks promote hatred and think that it is their birthright. We need one more world movement towards liberation so that all divisive dogs are Erased from the face of the Earth.....
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