Dear Commons Community,
Following a night of protest at the University of Virginia, white supremacists staged a violent series of demonstrations in Charlottesville today and clashed with police and counter demonstrators. The video above demonstrates the extent of the violence.
Today’s protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, called “Unite the Right,” was nominally billed as a protest against the removal of a monument to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. The protest drew out hundreds of demonstrators bearing Nazi symbols and Confederate flags and chanting racist slogans. Violence erupted between the far-right rally attendees and counter-protestors, leading Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) to declare a state of emergency.”
In a tweet, President Donald Trump commented:
“We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Lets come together as one!”
Trump was criticized for not calling out the white supremacists in particular.
As the official start of the “Unite the Right” rally kicked off in Charlottesville, Virginia, former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke said the gathering of white supremacists, neo-Nazis and far-right individuals pointed to a future fulfillment of President Donald Trump’s “promises.”
“This represents a turning point for the people of this country,” said Duke in video uploaded to Twitter by Indianapolis Star photojournalist Mykal McEldowney. “We are determined to take our country back. We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump. 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. That’s what we gotta do.”
Duke responded to Trump’s tweet by stating that Trump should “remember” that “White Americans’ were the ones to put him in office.
Duke, a former KKK Grand Wizard, has long connected his message of white supremacy to ideas espoused by the president.
During the presidential campaign, Duke stated that he and Trump had similar messages, pointing to Trump proposing policies like a border wall or Muslim ban.
“Donald Trump is talking implicitly. I’m talking explicitly,” Duke said last year, according to Time.
Our prayers are with the decent people of Charlottesville and hope they can overcome the hate exemplified by “Unite the Right” thugs.