Trump slams bigotry 'on many sides' as violent far-right rally leaves 3 dead, 20 injured

Young journalists club

News ID: 12020
Publish Date: 9:57 - 13 August 2017
TEHRAN, August 13 YJC -At least three people have died and 20 more injured following a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and ensuing clashes with anti-racist counter-protesters, prompting US President Donald Trump to condemn "hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides."

TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) -Most of the casualties came as a car deliberately plowed into a crowd of peaceful counter-protesters on Saturday near the site of the white supremacists' rally in the college town as Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe declared a State of Emergency and urged city residents to stay away from the protest event.

State police also attributed a helicopter crash outside Charlottesville, that killed two of its troopers, to the violent rally but did not elaborate on how the two incidents were linked.

Meanwhile, Trump issued a statement condemning "in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides." He further said, "We have to respect each other, ideally we have to love each other."

African American and US rights activists, however, have criticized Trump for refusing to identify the white nationalists in his statement condemning bigotry, further arguing that members of his cabinet, including White House Chief Strategist Steven Bannon, is a well-known white nationalist.

House Speaker Paul Ryan also described the views of the white nationalists as "repugnant," urging Americans to unite against "this kind of vile bigotry."

First lady Melania Trump was also cited as calling on people to "communicate (without) hate in our hearts."

This is while televised video images showed a silver vehicle with darkened windows speeding through a crowd of marchers near the rally’s site and ramming another car, sending people through the air. The car then went into reverse as protesters chased it.

The driver of the car was later arrested and identified as 20-year-old James Alex Fields, Jr. He has been charged with second degree murder.

The so-called "Unite the Right" rally was expected to draw a lot of people from out of town. It came after last month's Ku Klux Klan rally, also in Charlottesville, that drew nearly 50 Klan members and about 1,000 counter-protesters.

The existing tensions in the city reportedly boiled over what is believed to be the largest gathering of white nationalists in the past decade as riot police tried to disperse crowds of hundreds around the protest site and helicopters circled overhead.

The far-right activists gathered at the city’s Emancipation Park to protest plans to remove a statue of the Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee as hundreds more counter-demonstrators converged on the site to protest the racism.

The unrest originally began Friday night, when the white supremacists carried torches though the University of Virginia campus in what they described as a "pro-white" rally, shouting slogans such as “You will not replace us” and “White lives matter.”

University President Teresa Sullivan slammed the event in a statement saying, "I am deeply saddened and disturbed by the hateful behavior displayed by torch-bearing protestors that marched on our Grounds this evening. I strongly condemn the unprovoked assault on members of our community, including University personnel who were attempting to maintain order.”

The event then rapidly spiraled into violence on Saturday morning as hundreds of people threw punches, hurled water bottles and deployed chemical sprays against each other.

Police used teargas to disperse the crowd, before offering protesters the option of being arrested or moving to another larger location approximately one mile away.

Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke was among the participants at the "Unite the Right" rally, saying that the event represented fulfilling the promises of President Trump.

"This represents a turning point for the people of this country. We are determined to take our country back, we're going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump, and that's what we believed in, that's why we voted for Donald Trump, because he said he's going to take our country back and that's what we gotta do," the ex-KKK leader stated.

However, after Trump's condemnation of the rally, Duke tweeted, "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."

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