A protest similar with the 2015 “black lives matter” rhetoric which occurred on Friday night, where hundreds of marchers descended on the University of Virginia carrying torches and yelling slogans “white lives matter” and “blood and soil”, turned violent on Saturday, as white supremacists clashed with counterdemonstrators and a car ploughed into a crowd of anti-racist and anti-fascist demonstrators.
Here’s everything we know so far
The fiasco occurred in the university town of Charlottesville, a university town of 46,000 people, in the state of Virginia, US. – a town which has degenerated into a cite for the resurgent white supremacist movement after officials there voted to take down a statue of the Confederate General Robert E Lee.
It started with the organization of a “Unite the Right” rally described as one of the largest white supremacist events in recent US history, and led by Jason Kessler, a former journalist and a member of the Proud Boys, an ultra-nationalist group, which was planned for Friday August 11 to protest against the removal of the statue of Confederate icon General Robert E Lee.
The protest which continued into the following day had protesters gathered again on Saturday and clashed with counter-demonstrators.
Following the clash, a local state of emergency was declared by the City of Charlottesville and the County of Albemarle.
To compound the woes, a speeding car, Dodge Challenger rammed into counter-demonstrators around 1:42pm and later, in the afternoon, a police helicopter crashed while en route to the rally.
The culprit and driver of the car, James Alex Fields, a 20-year-old, fled the scene but was located and arrested shortly after the incident, and charged with second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding, and one count of hit-and-run.
Police have made additional arrests in connection with the incident.
Troy Dunigan, Jacob L. Smith both 21-year-old were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, misdemeanour assault and battery respectively while 44-year-old James M. O’brien was arrested and charged with carrying a concealed gun.
Three casualties and injuries have been recorded. 32-year-old Heather Heyer died following the car ramming.
Lieutenant Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Bates who were on-board the crashed helicopter died, 35 people were injured at the rally and 19 confirmed by the hospital in Charlottesville.
While a state emergency is in place, adequate security personnel have been deployed and citizens enjoined to stay back at home today.
Reacting to the incident, President Trump via his Twitter wrote, “We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Let’s come together as one!”
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
Ivanka Trump, has condemned the protests, saying there’s “no place in society for racism, white supremacy and neo-nazis”.