A divisive weekend continued in a Virginia community on Sunday when a rally organizer tried to speak publicly about his event a day after a 32-year-old woman was killed.
Saturday’s chaos erupted as neo-Nazis, skinheads, members of the Ku Klux Klan, and other white supremacist groups staged a rally to protest the city of Charlottesville’s plans to remove the Lee statue. Peaceful counter-protesters arrived and marched downtown, carrying signs that read “black lives matter” and “love.”
The two sides quickly clashed, with hundreds of people throwing punches, hurling water bottles and unleashing chemical sprays. Some came prepared for a fight, with body armor and helmets. Videos that ricocheted around the world on social media showed people beating each other with sticks and shields. Amid the violence, the Dodge Challenger tore through the crowd.
The impact hurled people into the air and blew off their shoes. Heather Heyer was killed as she crossed the street.
“My heart goes out to Heather Heyer’s family,” Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said. “Her bravery should inspire all to come together.”
Rally organizer tries to hold press conference
The man who organized a rally in Charlottesville that sparked violent clashes between white supremacist groups and counter-protesters tried to hold a news conference a day after the deadly event, but a crowd of several hundred booed him and forced him away from the lectern.
Jason Kessler is a blogger based in Charlottesville, and as he came out to speak Sunday afternoon near City Hall, he was surrounded by cameras and people.
Some people chanted and made noises with drums and other instruments. Among the chants: “You’re wearing the wrong hood,” a reference to the Ku Klux Klan.
Kessler mimicked looking at his watch and indicated he’d wait to speak. A few people approached, crossing the line of TV cameras. One man pushed Kessler. A woman tackled him.
Kessler asked state troopers on the scene for help….