Charlottesville: Trump criticised over response to far-right

Charlottesville: Trump criticised over response to far-right

The white nationalists who descended on the small, liberal city of Charlottesville were a motley crew of militia, racists, and neo-Nazis, and some who said they simply wanted to defend their Southern history.

They gathered early in the morning at Emancipation Park where the statue of General Lee sits, some dressed in full tactical gear and openly carrying rifles. Others wore black shirts, helmets, and boots.

In a column they surged into the park, using sticks and their fists to shove aside anti-fascist counter-protesters. Then they blocked off the entrance with shields.

Inside, David Duke, the former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, grinned and waved as the crowd, almost entirely white and male, cheered him on, chanting his name and putting their arms up in Nazi salutes.

They had reason to be pleased. They were in the middle of the largest gathering of white nationalists in America for decades.

Some observers say that Mr Trump's election to the White House has re-energised the far right across the US.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights organisation, says that "Trump's run for office electrified the radical right, which saw in him a champion of the idea that America is fundamentally a white man's country."

In his response to Saturday's violence, Mr Trump condemned "in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides".

"The hate and the division must stop right now," he told reporters, speaking in New Jersey, where he is on a working holiday. "We have to come together as Americans with love for our nation."

Charlottesville: Trump criticised over response to far-right
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But that did not go far enough for both Democrats and members of Mr Trump's Republican party.

"Very important for the nation to hear [President Trump] describe events in #Charlottesville for what they are, a terror attack by #whitesupremacists," Republican senator Marco Rubio tweeted.

Another senior Republican, Ted Cruz, called the car-ramming a "grotesque act of domestic terrorism" and there were more strong words from Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah.


Skip Twitter post by @senorrinhatch

We should call evil by its name. My brother didn't give his life fighting Hitler for Nazi ideas to go unchallenged here at home. -OGH

— Senator Hatch Office (@senorrinhatch) August 12, 2017 Report

End of Twitter post by @senorrinhatch


House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said "the President's talk of violence 'on many sides' ignores the shameful reality of white supremacism in our country today".

Mr Trump's former Democratic rival for the presidency, Hillary Clinton, said "every minute we allow this to persist through tacit encouragement or inaction is a disgrace and corrosive to our values".



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