Injuries reported after car plows into protesters during clashes at ‘Unite the Right’ rally

At least one person was killed and several others were injured Saturday when a car rammed into a group of counter-protesters during the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va.

Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer tweeted that he was “heartbroken that a life has been lost here” and urged “all people of good will [to] go home.”

WARNING: VIDEO CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES AND LANGUAGE

Earlier, Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller told Fox News that three vehicles had collided in downtown Charlottesville and multiple injuries, ranging from life-threatening to minor, had been reported. Geller added that the car seen backing away with a smashed hood in the above video had been located.

No arrests had been reported in connection with the incident and authorities said they had not determined whether the crash was intentional.

There was no official word on the number of injuries, but The Washington Post reported that at least 10 pedestrians had been hurt. 

The crash occurred approximately two hours after clashes in which hundreds of people scramed, chanted, threw punches, hurled water bottles and unleashed chemical sprays on each other ahead of the scheduled noon demonstration. 

Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency, which city officials said allowed them to request additional resources to respond to the clashes expected between hundreds of white supremacists and those opposing them. 

Before the car crash, local authorities said that just one person had been arrested and eight people had been treated for injuries.

Right-wing blogger Jason Kessler had planned what he called a “pro-white” rally to protest Charlottesville’s decision to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from a city park.

Local police estimated that as many as 6,000 people were taking part in the rally. Among those expected to attend were Confederate heritage groups, KKK members, militia groups and so-called “alt-right” activists, who generally espouse a mix of racism, white nationalism and populism.

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.

Clashes also broke out 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. The school announced on Saturday that it would be canceling all scheduled events and programming today. They said the medical center would be open.

President Donald Trump tweeted: “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!”

First Lady Melania Trump also tweeted: “Our country encourages freedom of speech, but let’s communicate w/o hate in our hearts. No good comes from violence. #Charlottesville.”

Vice President Mike Pence tweeted shortly after Trump: “I stand with @POTUS against hate violence. U.S. is greatest when we join together oppose those seeking to divide us. #Charlottesville”

The Speaker of the House Paul Ryan also tweeted, condemning the protests. “The views fueling the spectacle in Charlottesville are repugnant,” Ryan tweeted. “Let it only serve to unite Americans against this kind of vile bigotry.”

Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer tweeted before Trump’s reaction: “March rally in Charlottesville against everything the flag stands for. President Trump must condemn in strongest terms immediately.”

The NHL’s Detroit Red Wings released a statement Saturday denouncing the user of their logo at the rally and that they are considering legal action to stop it.

The team said it “vehemently” disagrees with and is not associated with the event.”

A Michigan-based white nationalist group called the Detroit Right Wings uses the Red Wings’ logo.

Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signer said he was disappointed 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.”

Saturday’s violence was the latest confrontation in Charlottesville since the city voted earlier this year to remove the Lee statue.

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.

The city has also renamed Lee Park, where the statue stands, and Jackson Park, named after Confederate General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. They are now called Emancipation Park and Justice Park, respectively. 

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.

Fox News’ Doug McKelway and The Associated Press contributed to this report.


comments powered by Disqus