clear
Monday December 11th, 2017 12:43AM
1:33PM ( 11 hours ago ) Weather Alert

Hundreds face off ahead of white nationalist rally

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Hundreds of people chanted, threw punches, hurled water bottles and unleashed chemical sprays on each other Saturday morning at white nationalist rally in Charlottesville.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency and police dressed in riot gear ordered people to disperse after chaotic violent clashes between white nationalists and counter protestors.

Right-wing blogger Jason Kessler had called for what he termed a "pro-white" rally to protest the city of Charlottesville's decision to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from a downtown park.

Colleen Cook, 26, stood on a curb shouting at the rally attendees to go home.

Cook, a teacher who attended the University of Virginia, said she sent her son, who is black, out of town for the weekend.

"This isn't how he should have to grow up," she said.

Cliff Erickson leaned against a fence and took in the scene. He said he thinks removing the statue amounts to erasing history and said the "counterprotesters are crazier than the alt-right."

"Both sides are hoping for a confrontation," he said.

It's the latest confrontation in Charlottesville since the city about 100 miles outside of Washington, D.C., voted earlier this year to remove a statue of Lee.

In May, a torch-wielding group that included prominent white nationalist Richard Spencer gathered around the statue for a nighttime protest, and in July, about 50 members of a North Carolina-based KKK group traveled there for a rally, where they were met by hundreds of counter-protesters.

Kessler said this week that the rally is partly about the removal of Confederate symbols but also about free speech and "advocating for white people."

"This is about an anti-white climate within the Western world and the need for white people to have advocacy like other groups do," he said in an interview.

Between rally attendees and counter-protesters, authorities were expecting as many as 6,000 people, Charlottesville police said this week.

Among those expected to attend are Confederate heritage groups, KKK members, militia groups and "alt-right" activists, who generally espouse a mix of racism, white nationalism and populism.

Both the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center, which track extremist groups, said the event has the potential to be the largest of its kind in at least a decade.

Officials have been preparing for the rally for months. Virginia State Police will be assisting local authorities, and a spokesman said the Virginia National Guard "will closely monitor the situation and will be able to rapidly respond and provide additional assistance if needed."

Police instituted road closures around downtown, and many businesses in the popular open-air shopping mall opted to close for the day.

Both local hospitals said they had taken precautions to prepare for an influx of patients and had extra staff on call.

There were also fights Friday night, when hundreds of white nationalists marched through the University of Virginia campus carrying torches.

A university spokesman said one person was arrested and several people were injured.

Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signer said he was disgusted that the white nationalists had come to his town and blamed President Donald Trump for inflaming racial prejudices with his campaign last year.

"I'm not going to make any bones about it. I place the blame for a lot of what you're seeing in American today right at the doorstep of the White House and the people around the president."

Charlottesville, nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, is a liberal-leaning city that's home to the flagship University of Virginia and Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson.

The statue's removal is part of a broader city effort to change the way Charlottesville's history of race is told in public spaces. The city has also renamed Lee Park, where the statue stands, and Jackson Park, named for Confederate General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson. They're now called Emancipation Park and Justice Park, respectively.

For now, the Lee statue remains. A group called the Monument Fund filed a lawsuit arguing that removing the statue would violate a state law governing war memorials. A judge has agreed to a temporary injunction that blocks the city from removing the statue for six months.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines
© Copyright 2017 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Chance the Rapper acts as grand marshal of Chicago parade
Grammy Award-winning artist Chance the Rapper rode through the streets of his Chicago hometown as grand marshal of the city's back-to-school parade
11:25AM ( 14 minutes ago )
The Latest: Sub owner ordered held in woman's disappearance
A Danish court has ordered the owner of an amateur-built submarine to be held in pre-trial detention for 24 days while police investigate the disappearance of a Swedish journalist who had been on the ship
11:10AM ( 29 minutes ago )
The Latest: Witnesses say Kenya police assault journalists
The Latest: Witnesses say Kenya police assault journalists amid post-election protests
11:06AM ( 34 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Fire blocks route for dozens in Glacier National Park chalet
Most of the guests at a Glacier National Park backcountry chalet with its hiking exit route blocked by a wildfire have decided to hike out of the park using a much longer route
9:50AM ( 1 hour ago )
Presley's friends feel love, pain, 40 years after his death
Presley's friends feel love, pain, 40 years after his death
9:26AM ( 2 hours ago )
Parents test school liability in bullying and child suicide
The parents of an 8-year-old Ohio boy who hanged himself from his bunk bed with a necktie are testing the issue of school liability in suicides blamed on bullying
9:06AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP National News
Trump says he's open to military intervention in Venezuela
Trump leaves open possibility of military intervention in Venezuela as Pence prepares for 6-day tour of the region
2:54AM ( 8 hours ago )
Secessionists push for South to break away from US again
Some white Southerners are again advocating for what the Confederacy tried and failed to achieve in the 1860s: secession from the Union
2:48AM ( 8 hours ago )
Father: Woman killed by officer was 'ripped from our arms'
The father and the fiance of an Australian woman shot to death by a Minneapolis police officer responding to her 911 call grieved at a public memorial service held at the same time the family had planned to be on a plane heading to her wedding
11:48PM ( 11 hours ago )
Top U.S. News short headlines
Chance the Rapper acts as grand marshal of Chicago parade
Grammy Award-winning artist Chance the Rapper rode through the streets of his Chicago hometown as grand marshal of the city's back-to-school parade
11:25AM ( 14 minutes ago )
The Latest: Sub owner ordered held in woman's disappearance
A Danish court has ordered the owner of an amateur-built submarine to be held in pre-trial detention for 24 days while police investigate the disappearance of a Swedish journalist who had been on the ship
11:10AM ( 29 minutes ago )
The Latest: Witnesses say Kenya police assault journalists
The Latest: Witnesses say Kenya police assault journalists amid post-election protests
11:06AM ( 34 minutes ago )
Montana's Health Co-op remains standing as others falter
Montana's health care co-op resumes accepting new enrollees on Sunday after it voluntarily pulled itself from the state's insurance marketplace in December
11:01AM ( 38 minutes ago )
Kisner, Matsuyama share lead at PGA as weekend storms loom
Matsuyama, Kisner share lead at PGA Championship, with storms looming for weekend at ?ail Hollow
10:56AM ( 43 minutes ago )