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Charlottesville attack: White lives do not matter?

Charlottesville attack: White lives do not matter?
Image Courtesy: Chicago Tribune

Virginia: On Friday, marchers descended on the University of Virginia carrying torches and yelling slogans “white lives matter” and “blood and soil”.

One of the largest white supremacist events in recent US history, a “Unite the Right” rally carried out on Saturday was planned on August 12 to protest against the removal of a statue of Confederate icon General Robert E Lee.

The event was organized by Jason Kessler, a former journalist and a member of the Proud Boys, an ultra-nationalist group.

What actually happened?

Protesters gathered again on Saturday, and clashed with counter-demonstrators.

11:28am (15:35 GMT) – A local state of emergency was declared by the City of Charlottesville and the County of Albemarle.

1:42pm (17:42 GMT) – A speeding car rammed into counter-demonstrators, through a three-vehicle crash.

The speeding car, a Dodge Challenger, hit another sedan, which in turn pushed a minivan in front of it.

The speeding car fled the scene but was soon located and stopped by police.

Later in the afternoon, a police helicopter crashed while en route to the rally, though officials did not elaborate on the details.

Where did it happen?

This took place in Charlottesville, a university town of 46,000 people, in the state of Virginia in the United States.

Charlottesville has become a focal point of the resurgent white supremacist movement after officials there voted to take down a statue of the Confederate General Robert E Lee.

20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr, the driver of the car, was arrested shortly after the incident and was charged with second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding, and one count of hit-and-run.

In connection with the events at Charlottesville today, police made three more arrests. 21-year-old Troy Dunigan and charged him with disorderly conduct. 21-year-old Jacob L. Smith was also arrested and charged with misdemeanour assault and battery. 44-year-old James M. O’Brien was arrested and charged with carrying a concealed gun.

Consequence?

32-year-old Heather Heyer died in hospital, after he got hit by the car. Lieutenant Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Bates crashed in the helicopter were declared died. 35 people were injured at the rally, 19 confirmed by the hospital in Charlottesville.

Police intervened after clashes broke out and dispersed the crowd, and Governor McAuliffe declared a state of emergency.

The Governor’s office also urged all members of the community to stay home on Saturday evening.

On August 12, US President Donald Trump condemned the clashes in Charlottesville in a Twitter post:

Senator Bernie Sanders also condemned the clashes :

The white nationalist demonstration in #Charlottesville is a reprehensible display of racism and hatred that has no place in our society.

Senator Cory Gardner a labelled them as “domestic terrorism”:

Mr. President – we must call evil by its name. These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism.

And former US President Barack Obama wrote:

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion…”

On Tuesday, Donald Trump declared: “There is blame on both sides” for the deadly violence last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Trump’s remarks were welcomed by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, who tweeted: “Thank you President Trump for your honesty & courage to tell the truth.”

Steps taken:

FBI launched its own investigation into the incident. A fundraising campaign for the family of a woman killed in a car-ramming attack in the US town of Charlottesville has raised tens of thousands of dollars.

A ‘Moment of Unity’ was held in Charlottesville, giving citizens a chance to offer prayers and support for the victims.

Judge Robert Downer said during a bail hearing on Monday, August 14, that he would appoint a lawyer for James Alex Fields Jr.  The next scheduled court hearing is on August 25, though Fields’ attorney could request a bond hearing before then.