February 25, 2018

Police Prepare for Virginia Rally Protesting Removal of Confederate Statue

13 August 2017, 01:13 | Marta Robbins

Police Prepare for Virginia Rally Protesting Removal of Confederate Statue

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Video of the incident shows a gray Dodge Challenger driving quickly down a narrow side street lined with walking protesters. The driver backs up and rapidly flees the scene.

Counter-protesters arrived with a sign reading "UVA students act against white supremacy".

Thousands of people are expected to take part in the protest against the planned removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Speaking in New Jersey, US president Donald Trump condemned "this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides" in Virginia.

One protester was arrested and charged with assault and disorderly conduct, she said, adding that "I am deeply saddened and disturbed by the hateful behavior displayed by torch-bearing protesters that marched on our grounds this evening". "What is vital now is a swift restoration of law and order and the protection of innocent lives".

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".

People scattered, running for safety in different directions, he said.

For weeks, white nationalists, neo-Nazis and other far-right figures have been preparing for Saturday's rally, occasionally running into obstacles as the home-rental company Airbnb banned far-right users for violating the company's anti-racism policies.

The rally is being organized by Jason Kessler, a right-wing blogger. "We have determined that we can not do all of these things effectively if the demonstration is held in Emancipation Park". Another read "diversity is just a genocidal scam".

The City Of Charlottesville approved a permit for the rally at McIntire Park, but there is a possibility that a large crowd of people could gather in the downtown, according to a local news website.

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"I want to urge my fellow Virginians who may consider joining either in support or opposition to the planned rally to make alternative plans", Governor Terry McAuliffe said in a statement.

Shortly following the violence, the area surrounding the statue was cleared by law enforcement. She said some injuries had been reported. He also said "there is no place for this kind of violence in America".

Following the clashes, police and security forces were deployed in riot gears. The council also voted to rename two city parks that had been named for Confederate generals; one of those, Emancipation Park, was due to be the site of Saturday's rally.

The protest turned violent well ahead of the rally's official noon start time.

Chanting, "Blood and soil" and "You will not replace us", the group rallied around a statue of Thomas Jefferson before they clashed with counter-protesters, CNN affiliate WWBT reported.

State police tweeted that some in the crowd were using pepper spray.

Trump's tweet was the first official response to the violence from the White House, and came almost an hour after First Lady Melania Trump tweeted about the situation in Charlottesville. Rally organizers say this should be grounds for a lawsuit.

The judge made the decision around 8pm last night.

Attorneys for the ACLU Foundation of Virginia and The Rutherford Institute filed the injunction on behalf of Kessler.

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