Saturday, August 12, 2017
By Chris Cillizza
A group of white supremacists -- screaming racial, ethnic and misogynistic epithets -- rallied in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday. One person was killed and 19 others were injured when a car sped into a group of counter-protesters.
This is what the President of the United States said about it: "We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides. On many sides. It's been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. This has been going on for a long, long time."
It's hard to imagine a less presidential statement in a time in which the country looks to its elected leader to stand up against intolerance and hatred. Picking a "worst" from Donald Trump's statement -- delivered from his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club -- isn't easy. But, the emphasis of "on many sides" -- Trump repeated that phrase twice -- is, I think, the low ebb. Both sides don't scream racist and anti-Semitic things at people with whom they disagree. They don't base a belief system on the superiority of one race over others. They don't get into fistfights with people who don't see things their way. They don't create chaos and leave a trail of injured behind them. Arguing that "both sides do it" deeply misunderstands the hate and intolerance at the core of this "Unite the Right" rally. These people are bigots. They are hate-filled. This is not just a protest where things, unfortunately, got violent. Violence sits at the heart of their warped belief system.
Trying to fit these hate-mongers into the political/ideological spectrum -- which appears to be what Trump is doing -- speaks to his failure to grasp what's at play here. This is not a "conservatives say this, liberals say that" sort of situation. We all should stand against this sort of violent intolerance and work to eradicate it from our society -- whether Democrat, Republican, Independent or not political in the least. What Trump failed to do is what he has always promised to do: Speak blunt truths. The people gathered in Charlottesville this weekend are white supremacists, driven by hate and intolerance. Period. There is no "other side" doing similar things here. "Mr. President - we must call evil by its name," tweeted Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colorado. "These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism." Tweeted Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, another fellow Republican: "Very important for the nation to hear @potus describe events in #Charlottesville for what they are, a terror attack by #whitesupremacists." What Trump is doing -- wittingly or unwittingly -- is giving cover to the sort of beliefs (and I use that word lightly) on display in Charlottesville today.
Chalking it all up to a violent political rhetoric that occurs on both sides and has been around for a very long time contextualizes and normalizes the behavior of people who should not be normalized. It is not everyday political rhetoric to scream epithets at people who don't look like you or worship like you. Trump's right that this sort of behavior has existed on American society's fringes for a long time -- but what we as a nation, led by our presidents, have always done is call it out for what it is: radical racism that has no place in our world. So, that's the big one. But there are other things in Trump's statement that are also worth calling out -- most notably "not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama."
What Trump is doing here is pre-emptively absolving himself of blame for creating a political climate in the country in which people like these "Unite the Right" demonstrators feel emboldened enough to rally in public. Not my fault, Trump is saying. There were hate groups and hate speech under Obama too! With someone dead and more than two dozen people injured, this is, of course, not the time for assigning blame. Or for making political calculations. This is a time to say: We stand together against what we saw in Charlottesville today. Trump didn't do that. Not even close.
Then, last but not least, is what Trump said a few paragraphs after his "on many sides" comment. Here it is: "Our country is doing very well in so many ways. We have record -- just absolute record employment. We have unemployment, the lowest it's been in almost 17 years. We have companies pouring into our country. Foxconn and car companies, and so many others, they're coming back to our country. We're renegotiating trade deals to make them great for our country and great for the American worker. We have so many incredible things happening in our country. So when I watch Charlottesville, to me it's very, very sad."
#Charlottesville - White Supremacists Show Up To A City That Didn’t Want Them, Chant ‘Blood And Soil’
Thousands of white supremacists and armed militia groups faced off with counter-protesters during a violent and chaotic rally that raged for hours in this Virginia city on Saturday, ending the death of one person and forcing the state governor to declare a state of emergency.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) condemned the violence during a press conference Saturday evening, sending a message to the white supremacists.
“Our message is plain and simple: go home. You are not wanted in this great commonwealth,” he said. “Shame on you.”
“Please go home and never come back. Take your hatred, and take your bigotry,” McAuliffe added.
“You came here today to hurt people and you did hurt people,” McAuliffe said.
Charlottesville Police Chief Al Thomas said 35 people were treated for injuries by city personnel on Saturday, with injuries ranging from minor to life-threatening. Three people died Saturday, including a 32-year-old woman who was hit by a car that plowed into a group of counter demonstrators and two others who perished in a helicopter crash near the protests.
Groups in Charlottesville beat each other with flagpoles and bats, threw punches, chanted slogans and used chemical sprays on each other at a downtown park. Some reporters covering the event also were doused in raw sewage. As police were expelling demonstrators from the area about two hours later, a car mowed down a group at the rally, leaving one person dead and 19 injured, according to Charlottesville officials. Fifteen others suffered injuries related to the rally.
“There was a cloud,” said a witness, who asked not to be named. “Things were flying. Most people managed to get out of the way.”
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ACLU of Virginia ✔ @ACLUVA
Folks said counter protesters were hit by a vehicle as they turned the corner. Medics are here. #Charlottesville
1:50 PM - Aug 12, 2017
The “Unite The Right” rally was promoted by white nationalist Richard Spencer and drew several different groups, including activists from the so-called “alt right,” Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members and other white supremacists, some of whom dressed in militia uniforms and were openly carrying long guns. Counter-demonstrators and anti-fascist groups also attended.
Tensions were running high even before the rally officially began at noon, with members of the “alt-right” chanting the Nazi phrase “blood and soil!” and “white lives matter!” as they marched toward Emancipation Park. With Confederate flags and Nazi memorabilia on full display, they also chanted “Fuck you faggots!”
“This is the biggest racist rally in recent memory,” a 23-year-old anti-fascist from Michigan, who wouldn’t give his name, told HuffPost. “And we are all out here opposing these motherfuckers and trying to get a temperature check where the right is ― where the far right is at ― and how they’re organizing, and where we can apply radical strategies to defeat fascism.”
Meanwhile, counter-protesters took to drenching reporters on the scene in raw sewage.
McAuliffe asked on Twitter for a stop to the violence.
As the groups came together, they began hitting each other with sticks and unleashing chemical irritants. Some fled the scene, others coughed and cried from the sprays. Two fences and a line of cops helped separate the groups, though police did not immediately intervene in the violence. As more fights began breaking out, police could be seen putting on riot gear. Meanwhile, hundreds more white supremacists joined in the fray, making their way under a banner hung by the city that read “Diversity makes us stronger.”
Those standing on the sidelines were baffled as to why police weren’t immediately stopping the skirmishes that took over the park.
“If this were Ferguson riot gear, tear gas, everything would have been used, there’s a different standard here in Charlottesville,” said Anthony Bennett, a pastor from Connecticut. Unidentified militia members brandishing guns also showed up at the scene. As more fights began breaking out, police could be seen putting on riot gear.
As the scheduled time for the rally got closer, hundreds more white supremacists could be seen marching under a banner hung by the city that read “Diversity makes us stronger.”
Just minutes before the noon rally was officially set to begin, police threatened arrest for “unlawful assembly.” Thousands of people began to disperse, but it wasn’t immediately clear where they were going.
Late Friday night, a white nationalist march at the University of Virginia campus painted a sobering picture of what was to come. A torch-bearing procession of hundreds that included Spencer and at least one man wearing a Nazi SS T-shirt and another carrying a bat, ended with a clash at the campus rotunda where a Thomas Jefferson statue stands. Spencer admitted on Twitter that a group surrounded counter-protesters at the statue.
Counter-protesters told HuffPost that some among their ranks were then hit with some type of irritant ― they claim it was mace, unleashed by the white supremacists. Protesters on the fringe left, who come to these events to battle the fringe right, often try to hide their identities for fear of retaliation.
Some counter-protesters threatened a HuffPost reporter with a gun when he attempted to photograph, from a distance, those recovering from the irritant.
“Don’t make me use my gun on you,” a woman said to a HuffPost reporter, grabbing a holster on her hip.
Punches and torches were thrown during the fracas, but local police eventually dispersed the crowds. President Donald Trump did little to denounce the white supremacists, instead saying that “many sides” were responsible for the violence. “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides ― on many sides,” Trump said at a ceremony for the signing of a bill to reform the Veterans Affairs health care system. “It’s been going on for a long time in our country, not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama, it’s been going on for a long, long time.”
Comments from state and local officials addressed the racism more directly.
Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signer spoke out against the white supremacists who gathered in his city.
“They do not agree with the rules of democracy and they are on the losing side of history,” he said during a press conference Saturday evening.
McAuliffe spoke directly to white supremacists during the press conference, reminding them that “we are a nation of immigrants.” McAuliffe said he spoke to Trump on Saturday and told the president he’d be willing to work together, despite their differences, to help prevent this kind of violence in the future. “Tthere has got to be a movement in this coutnry to bring people together,” McAuliffe said.
The rally Saturday was thinly disguised on Facebook as an event in support of the statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee downtown, which is slated for removal as the city works to respect diverse voices in its telling of American history. It’s part of a nationwide effort to remove Confederate monuments from public property.
told HuffPost on Friday. “They don’t want the narrative changed or to tell the full story of race. I think this will have the effect of redoubling our progress. To become an honest society, I don’t think we have any choice but to tell the full story.”
The rally’s real purpose, however, shines through in the event’s advertising, which looks a lot like Nazi propaganda and reads like a poorly billed concert:
Meanwhile, Spencer’s followers claimed that that violence was coming to Charlottesville in the form of “roving mobs” of Antifa ― groups of black-clad, masked anti-fascists, anarchists and socialists. It’s a scare tactic that the white nationalists use regularly to pull crowds of people to a city in defense of it. They were able to draw hundreds to Gettysburg over the Fourth of July weekend after claiming members of Antifa were coming to desecrate graves. Antifa never came, but the Ku Klux Klan did, and the only bloodshed came when a lone patriot shot himself in the leg.
The weeks and days leading up to the rally had the city gearing up for war. Indeed, Charlottesville had seen this type of menacing before: White supremacists showed up with torches at the Lee monument in May, an act that evoked Ku Klux Klan symbolism.
Some businesses closed down Saturday to keep employees safe. Others reportedly opened their doors solely as a safe space in case of an emergency. Some locals were prepared to take drastic measures to protect their city.
“As a lifelong resident of Charlottesville and a mother of two, this is about making the world more equitable for my children,” Leslie Scott-Jones of Solidarity C’Ville wrote in a news release. “I am not naive about the urgent threat of August 12, nor do I believe the threat ends there. ... My family has been here since the 1700′s, this is my home, and I have no other choice than to protect it.”
At least four people were killed and 12 people were injured in an explosion near Quetta's Pishin Stop, reported Geo News. Police sources confirmed the number of casualties.
The explosion took place in a vehicle. Multiple cars caught fire after the explosion.
Rescue services have reached the site and are conducting rescue activities. A large contingent of security forces have also reached the spot.
Fire fighting vehicles are trying to control the fire after the explosion.
Injured are being shifted to nearby hospitals. FC Hostel and the Balochistan Assembly are near the spot of the explosion and the area is categorised as sensitive.