June 24, 2021

US: Charlottesville – One killed in violence over US far-right rally

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From BBC

One person has died and 19 others were injured when a car rammed a crowd of people opposing a far-right rally in the US state of Virginia, police say.
It happened after violent clashes between white nationalists attending the march and counter-protesters.
The mayor of Charlottesville, where the now-cancelled rally was taking place, said he was “heartbroken” at the death.
The “Unite the Right” march was called to protest against plans to remove a statue of a Civil War general.
A state of emergency has been declared, which has enabled police to mobilise resources.

President Donald Trump condemned “in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides”.
“The hate and the division must stop right now,” he told reporters, speaking in New Jersey, where he is on a working holiday. “We have to come together as Americans with love for our nation.”
Video posted on social media showed a car ploughing at speed into several slow-moving vehicles, which were surrounded by a densely packed crowd.

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Media captionPresident Trump condemned the “hatred and violence” in Charlottesville
A witness said one girl got “tore up” after the car “backed up and hit again”.
The Charlottesville Police Department said another 15 people were injured in violence related to the far-right march.
Police earlier fired tear gas against demonstrators and said that arrests had been made after a declaration of unlawful assembly at Emancipation Park.
Why do people still fly the Confederate flag?
The far-right protesters, some waving Confederate flags, carrying shields and wearing helmets, are angry about the planned removal of a statue of Gen Robert E Lee from Charlottesville.
Gen Lee commanded the pro-slavery Confederate forces in the US Civil War of 1861-65.

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Media captionThe BBC’s Joel Gunter describes the clashes, where groups were armed with shields and batons
The New York Times reports that some of them were chanting “You will not replace us,” and “Jew will not replace us.”
Anti-racism organisations such as Black Lives Matter have also held marches.
At the scene: Bottles thrown
By Joel Gunter, BBC News, Charlottesville
There were very violent scenes at Emancipation Park and it took some time for the police to intervene.
Both sides were throwing bottles and rocks and using pepper spray.
The far-right protesters were a mix of different groups with shields and batons and the declaration of a state of emergency seemed to have had a significant impact on them, as they started to dissipate.
Riot police have been deployed, but tensions remain high, with people screaming at each other and demonstrators still out on the streets.
Shiquan Rah, a 21-year-old demonstrator who had joined the counter-protest, said about the far-right groups: “These people don’t have a message, their message is hate and violence. This is a spiritual war we’re in.
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe urged calm tweeting: “The acts and rhetoric in #Charlottesville over past 24 hours are unacceptable [and] must stop. A right to speech is not a right to violence.”

Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer had earlier called the rally a “parade of hatred, bigotry, racism and intolerance”.
US Civil War and alt-right links
1861-65 US Civil War between the northern and southern states was principally caused by slavery
Southern Confederate forces, which backed slavery, eventually surrendered to Union army and slavery was abolished
A number of cities have grappled with Confederate symbols that still exist today, with flags and monuments becoming key venues for alt-right groups in recent months
Supporters say Confederate symbols represent freedom and liberty, but opponents say their roots are in slavery
The alt-right is a disparate group of provocateurs who hate political correctness and love Donald Trump, but critics say they are bigoted white nationalists

On Friday, the white nationalists held lit torches – which some observers described as a reference to the Ku Klux Klan – and chanted “White lives matter” as they marched through the University of Virginia in the city.

Charlottesville is considered a liberal college town – and 86% of the county voted for Hillary Clinton in last year’s presidential elections.
However, the town has become a focal point for white nationalists after the city council voted to remove a statue of Gen Lee.
Some observers also argue that Mr Trump’s election to the White House re-energised the far right across the US.


A woman is received first-aid after a car accident ran into a crowd of protesters in Charlottesville, VA on 12 August 2017.Image copyrightAFP
Image caption
A number of people received first-aid after a vehicle drove into a crowd
A woman is received first-aid after a car accident ran into a crowd of protesters in CharlottesvilleImage copyrightAFP
Image caption
Witnesses said the car backed up and hit the crowd more than once

Members of a white supremacists militia stand near a rally in Charlottesville, VirginiaImage copyrightREUTERS
Image caption
Members of a white nationalist group were armed and wearing militia uniforms

Members of white nationalists clash against a group of counter-protesters in Charlottesville VirginiaImage copyrightREUTERS
Image caption
At least two people have been injured in the clashes, police say

For more on this story and video go to: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-40912509

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