HATRED ON THE MARCH
White supremacists spew their bigotry and turn violent
Violent clashes pitting white supremacists against counterprotesters erupted in downtown Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, sparked by an ongoing controversy over the removal of a Confederate statue.
“White lives matter! ‘Jew’ will not replace us!” chanted the most radical rallygoers, who wore helmets and carried shields and clubs.
They also chanted Nazi-era slogans, including “Blood and soil” — a pro-Hitler rallying cry.
Among those at the rally were former Ku Klux Klan imperial wizard David Duke, alt-right leader Richard Spencer and na- tionalist Jason Kessler, the rally’s organizer.
Counter-protesters swarmed the rally in nearly equal numbers, including Black Lives Matter activists and Princeton University professor Cornel West.
Before the rally could even start, the scene in Emancipation Park — formerly named for Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee — devolved into chaos.
Protesters from both sides threw punches, hurled plastic bottles and blasted each other with pepper spray. Tear gas filled the air.
Several men had blood running down their faces.
Officials said a combined 15 people from both sides were hurt in the clashes.
Also, a 32-year-old woman was later killed when a car intentionally rammed into a group of counter-protesters.
The area death toll rose some three hours later when two State Police officers died in a helicopter crash about seven miles from the rally, authorities said.
The helicopter had been monitoring the protests. Officials did not indicate that the crash was otherwise connected to the protests.
Charlottesville police and Virginia State Police stood nearby in riot gear as the clashes began before 11 a.m., doing nothing at first
to stop the violence, The Washington Post reported.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe, blaming “mostly out-of-state protesters,” soon declared a state of emergency. Authorities sent in the Virginia National Guard and ordered hundreds of people out of the park.
Despite cops’ decision to put a halt to the rally, skirmishes continued to break out throughout the downtown of the normally sleepy college town until two hours later when the silver Dodge Challenger plowed into the protesters.
In addition to the woman killed, five other people were in critical condition, officials said.
At a news conference Saturday night, McAuliffe said he had a message for “all the white supremacists and the Nazis who came into Charlottesville today: Go home. You are not wanted in this great commonwealth.”
Maurice Jones, the town’s city manager, nearly broke into tears as he addressed reporters.
“Hate came to our town today in a way that we had feared but we had never really let ourselves imagine would,” Jones said.
Saturday’s chaos was foreshadowed Friday night, when torch-carrying white supremacists yelling Nazi-era slogans marched through the University of Virginia campus designed by Thomas Jefferson. Counter-pro- testers reported being blasted at the scene with pepper spray and lighter fluid.
The unrest in Charlottesville is the latest in a series of legal fights breaking out across the country over plans to tear down statues and other Confederate symbols.
Local officials had planned to remove a statue of Lee following a petition started by an African-American high-school student.
The removal has been stayed by the courts, at least for now.
In May, a torch-wielding group of white nationalists held a nighttime protest at the statue.
Two months later, about 50 members of a North Carolinabased KKK group rallied at the statue and clashed with hundreds of counter-protesters.
Charlottesville officials have been making a concerted effort to shed its Confederate past — sparking outrage from white supremacist groups.
In addition to renaming Lee park, where the statue stands, to Emancipation Park, the city had changed the name of Jackson Park, named for or Confederate Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, to Justice Park.
National elected officials from both major parties moved quickly to condemn Saturday’s violence.
“The views fueling the spectacle in Charlottesville are repugnant. Let it only serve to unite Americans against this kind of vile bigotry,” tweeted Republican House Speaker Rep. Paul Ryan.
President Trump first chimed in on the chaos with an early-afternoon tweet, writing at 1:19 p.m., “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!”
Ex-KKKer Duke jabbed Trump for condemning the violence — arguing that it was white nationalists who got Trump elected.
“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,” Duke tweeted.
BATTLE OF CHARLOTTESVILLE: Clashes between white supremacists and anti-bigotry protesters erupted Saturday in Charlottesville, Va., with some using pepper spray (left). Above, alt-right leader Richard Spencer mixes it up. Right, a demonstrator in symbolic chains squares off against purveyors of hatred.