A woman has died and at least 19 other people injured after a far right-inspired attack on anti-fascist protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, in the US.
James Fields drove his car into crowds of protesters yesterday, Saturday, countering a demonstration of white nationalists and fascists in the town. A photo has emerged that appears to show Fields at the “Unite the right” event with members of Vanguard America, a far right organisation.
The bigot-in-chief, US president Donald Trump, refused to condemn the attack. He instead criticised violence on “many sides”. But his virulently racist election campaign has given confidence to racists and Nazis across the US.
“I do hope that he looks himself in the mirror and thinks very deeply about who he consorted with during his campaign,” said Charlottesville mayor Mike Singer.
Hundreds of Nazis and white supremacists marched in Charlottesville against proposals to remove the statue of confederate general Robert E. Lee. Saturday’s mobilisation follows months of far right agitation around the town.
On Friday night hundreds of racists and Nazis marched through the University of Virginia in a torch-lit procession.
The white supremacist Ku Klux Klan’s leader David Duke led Saturday’s demonstration alongside the Nazi Richard Spencer. Duke told reporters that protesters were “going to fulfil the promises of Donald Trump” to “take our country back”.
Before the car attack anti-fascists encircled the Nazis. Fights broke out as police looked on—fascists came armed with helmets, shields, pepper spray and clubs.
The University of Virginia Medical Centre estimated that some 34 people were injured, including those caught up in the car attack.
Across many southern states similar protests have been held by racists and Nazis against the removal of statues of confederate figures.
In New Orleans, white supremacists and anti-racists faced off over another statue of Robert E. Lee. There have been similar standoffs at the University of California at Berkeley, in St Louis, Missouri, and Frederick, Maryland.
Trump’s response to the attack isolated him even further from his enemies within the Republican Party.
Even the racist attorney general Jeff Sessions condemned Saturday’s attack. Trump recently attacked him over promising to cooperate with the FBI investigation into potential Russian links with his election campaign.
Trump’s racist rhetoric and attacks on Muslims and migrants have given Nazis and racists in the US the confidence. There is a danger that they could begin building a far right street movement.
Anti-fascists here can provide international solidarity. Join the protests tomorrow night.