Trump un­der fire as fas­cist vi­o­lence erupts

One killed, 19 in­jured in clashes at white su­prem­a­cist rally

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

CHAOS and vi­o­lence turned to tragedy on Sat­ur­day as hun­dreds of white na­tion­al­ists, neoNazis and Ku Klux Klan mem­bers – plan­ning to stage what they de­scribed as their largest rally in decades to “take Amer­ica back” – clashed with counter pro­test­ers in the streets and a car ploughed into crowds, leav­ing one per­son dead and 19 oth­ers in­jured.

Gover­nor Terry McAuliffe, who had de­clared a state of emer­gency in the morn­ing, said at an evening news con­fer­ence that he had a mes­sage for “all the white su­prem­a­cists and the Nazis who came into Charlottesville: Go home. You are not wanted in this great com­mon­wealth.”

Mau­rice Jones, Charlottesville’s African-Amer­i­can city man­ager, looked stricken as he spoke. “Hate came to our town to­day in a way that we had feared but we had never re­ally let our­selves imag­ine would,” he said.

In an emer­gency meet­ing on Sat­ur­day evening, the Charlottesville City Coun­cil voted unan­i­mously to give po­lice the power to en­act a cur­few or oth­er­wise re­strict as­sem­bly as nec­es­sary to pro­tect pub­lic safety.

Video recorded at the scene of the car crash shows a 2010 grey Dodge Chal­lenger ac­cel­er­at­ing into crowds on a pedes­trian mall, send­ing bod­ies fly­ing – and then re­vers­ing at high speed, hit­ting yet more peo­ple.

Wit­nesses said the street was filled with peo­ple op­posed to the white na­tion­al­ists who had come to town bear­ing Con­fed­er­ate flags and anti-Semitic ep­i­thets.

A 32-year-old woman was killed, ac­cord­ing to po­lice, who said they were in­ves­ti­gat­ing the crash as a crim­i­nal homi­cide.

The driver of the Chal­lenger, James Alex Fields jr, 20, of Ohio, was ar­rested and charged with one count of sec­ond-de­gree mur­der, three counts of ma­li­cious wound­ing, and one count of hit-and-run, po­lice said.

Po­lice made three other ar­rests in con­nec­tion with vi­o­lence ear­lier in the day, on charges of as­sault and bat­tery, dis­or­derly con­duct and car­ry­ing a con­cealed weapon.

An­gela Tay­lor, a spokesper­son for the Uni­ver­sity of Vir­ginia Med­i­cal Cen­tre, said 19 oth­ers were brought to the hos­pi­tal in the early af­ter­noon af­ter the car bar­relled through the pedes­trian mall. Five were in crit­i­cal con­di­tion. An­other 14 peo­ple were hurt in street brawls, city of­fi­cials said.

Elected lead­ers in Vir­ginia and else­where urged peace, blast­ing the white su­prem­a­cist views on dis­play in Charlottesville as ugly. US House Speaker Paul Ryan, called the dis­play “re­pug­nant”.

But US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, known for his rapid-fire tweets, re­mained silent through­out the morn­ing. It was af­ter 1pm when he weighed in, writ­ing on Twit­ter: “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!”

In brief re­marks at a late af­ter­noon news con­fer­ence in New Jer­sey, Trump said, with­out specif­i­cally men­tion­ing white na­tion­al­ists or their views: “We con­demn in the strong­est pos­si­ble terms this egre­gious dis­play of ha­tred, big­otry and vi­o­lence on many sides. On many sides.”

The pres­i­dent’s tweet and state­ment were quickly ques­tioned and protested. “There is only one side,” tweeted for­mer vice-pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den.

Many Democrats were more crit­i­cal of Trump. “The Pres­i­dent’s talk of vi­o­lence ‘on many sides’ ig­nores the shame­ful re­al­ity of white supremacism in our coun­try to­day, and con­tin­ues a dis­turb­ing pat­tern of com­pla­cency around such acts of hate,” said House Mi­nor­ity Leader Nancy Pelosi.

For­mer Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, a Trump sup­porter who was in Charlottesville on Sat­ur­day, quickly replied. “I would rec­om­mend you take a good look in the mir­ror & re­mem­ber it was White Amer­i­cans who put you in the pres­i­dency, not rad­i­cal left­ists,” he wrote.

Dozens of the white na­tion­al­ists in Charlottesville were wear­ing red Make Amer­ica Great Again hats –a hall­mark of Trump’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tion cam­paign last year.


Far-right Amer­i­can pro­test­ers in­cite ha­tred at a Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Vir­ginia.

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