White Protesters Rally In Charlottesville, VA To Chant 'White Lives Matter' Ahead Of White Nationalist Rally
The Virginia city has become the prime location of white nationalist events in recent months.
Update (1:30 p.m., EST, Aug. 12): Later in the afternoon President Donald Trump tweeted "Let's all come together as one" in response to the violence that took place during the protest. Vice President Mike Pence replied to Trump's original tweet saying he stands against hate.
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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 12, 2017
Update (1:17 p.m., EST, Aug. 12): While the official rally Unite the Right has been canceled, white nationalists are still clashing with police and counter-protesters at a demonstration in Charlottesville.
Update (1 p.m., EST, Aug. 12): First Lady Melania Trump has responded on Twitter to today's violent activity in Charlottesville. At this time, the Trump Administration has not released a statement.
Our country encourages freedom of speech, but let's communicate w/o hate in our hearts. No good comes from violence. #Charlottesville— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) August 12, 2017
Update (12:33 p.m., EST, Aug. 12): Law enforcement officers have cleared and blocked off the main intersection near Emancipation Park where the violence took place before the rally was scheduled to begin.
Update (12:22 p.m., EST, Aug. 12): Because of safety concerns, the University of Virginia has canceled all scheduled events and programming for Saturday afternoon. The fall 2017 school year has not started yet at UVA so there wasn't as many students, faculty and staff on campus during the protests.
Update (11:54 a.m., EST, Aug. 12): Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency in Charlottesville because of the violence at the Unite the Right rally. Virginia is an open carry state and live video has shown a number of rally goers with guns. Witnesses have reported that alt-right members have been attacking counterprotesters with brass knuckles and bats and throwing rocks and water bottles in the crowd.
According to the Charlottesville Police Department, two people have been injured and one person has been arrested. Because of the violence, the city of Charlottesville also tweeted that the event is officially an unlawful assembly and the rally that was scheduled to begin at 12 p.m. EST, is now canceled. Earlier, McAuliffe condemned the rhetoric of the event in a short statement on Twitter. At this time, there has been no response or official statement from the Trump Administration.
The acts and rhetoric in #Charlottesville over past 24 hours are unacceptable & must stop. A right to speech is not a right to violence.— Terry McAuliffe (@GovernorVA) August 12, 2017
Update (10:55 a.m. EST, Aug. 12): Ahead of the 12 p.m. rally, violence broke out between white nationalists and counterprotesters. According to reports, the tension between the opposing groups is high and police are monitoring the situation. Local clergy, a chapter of Black Lives Matter and a number of other organization's counterprotesting the rally are also present in Charlottesville.
Update (10 a.m. EST, Aug. 12): An unidentified militia has arrived at Emancipation Park in Charlottesville hours before the rally.
The city of Charlottesville in Virginia is prepared for the thousands of white nationalists preparing to gather in the city's Emancipation Park on Saturday, where barricades have been placed near the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
Both white nationalists and counterprotesters will flood the downtown area of the city for the "Unite the Right" rally. Friday night, a large group of torch-bearing white nationalists marched through the University of Virginia Campus, where they chanted "One people, one nation, end immigration," "white lives matter" and "blood and soil." Reports show that violence did break out during the march through the university. Twitter users — including celebrities and activists such as Cher, Deray McKesson and Jeffrey Wright — took to the Internet to point out the rally goers' white privilege, blatant racism and ignorance.
When you're used to privilege, equality feels like oppression. Sorry the world is not exactly as you'd like it, BabyMen. https://t.co/JvTdk2o0Hk— Julie DiCaro (@JulieDiCaro) August 12, 2017
They should've thought of that before colonial immigrants came to this soil, stole it, and then were too lazy & weak to work it. https://t.co/ClOHk8c3xL— Jeffrey Wright (@jfreewright) August 12, 2017
The Nazis of Pier One Imports pic.twitter.com/nhQYPnqir8— Tim 🇺🇸 Dickinson (@7im) August 12, 2017
This is what happens when we "don't want to alienate" the lowest common denominator. When we try to "hear out" ignorant, angry white ppl. https://t.co/WCjcRyChQq— Cher (@thecherness) August 12, 2017
Saturday morning, counterprotesters got an early start on their march in preparation for the larger rally later in the afternoon. The Huffington Post national reporter Christopher Mathias tweeted video of the group marching through the streets, making an attempt to counter the hatred-filled atmosphere in Charlottesville.
If black folks were carrying torches on a college campus right now the administration would've already called the National Guard.— deray mckesson (@deray) August 12, 2017
Charlottesville has become the go-to location for white nationalists, neo-Confederates and alt-right activists from across the country who have been protesting the recent removal of Confederate monuments. Earlier this week, Airbnb shut down accounts connected to the white nationalist rally.City Manager Maurice Jones told CNN that about 1,000 law enforcement officers and first responders will be onsite — including the largest deployment by Virginia State Police in 30 years. Police predict that the rally will attract between 2,000 and 6,000 people. The Southern Povertly Law Center described the rally as possibly "the largest hate-gathering of its kind in decades in the United States."