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The Latest: Organizer of 'pro-white' rally disavows violence

By Associated Press

This article was originally published August 12, 2017 at 2:49 p.m. Updated August 12, 2017 at 4:34 p.m.


CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — The latest on the white nationalist rally being held in Charlottesville (all times local):

5:20 p.m.

The organizer of a rally that drew hundreds of white nationalists and other extremists to Charlottesville says he disavows the violence that eroded it.

Jason Kessler said in an interview Saturday evening that whoever drove a car into a group of counter-protesters "did the wrong thing." He said he was saddened that people were hurt.

Kessler is a local blogger and activist who described the event as a pro-white rally. He planned it to protest the city's decision to remove a Confederate monument.

He also criticized law enforcement's response to the event, which was dispersed before speakers could take the stage.

He said they did a poor job controlling the chaos to allow free speech.

4:15 p.m.

A state official said the driver of a car that plowed into a group of marchers in Charlottesville is in police custody.

Virginia Secretary of Public Safety Brian Moran said the driver, a man, has been arrested.

Moran did not immediately provide a name of the driver.

Witnesses say a car plowed into a crowd of people who were protesting a rally, which was held by white nationalists who oppose the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee by the city of Charlottesville. Officials say one person was killed and at least 26 were treated at local hospitals.

3:45 p.m.

A hospital official says one person has died and 19 were injured after a car plowed into a group of protesters in Charlottesville.

University of Virginia Medical Center spokeswoman Angela Taylor confirmed the death to The Associated Press.

The mayor of Charlottesville said via Twitter on Saturday that he is "heartbroken" to announce that a "life has been lost." He did not provide details.

Witnesses say a car plowed into a crowd of people who were protesting the rally, which was held by white nationalists who oppose the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee by the city of Charlottesville.

3:20 p.m.

Officials say there are multiple injuries after a car plowed into a group of people marching peacefully in downtown Charlottesville.

Video of the incident shows a silver Dodge Charger crashing into a car where protesters were marching and then rapidly reversing away.

Michael Nigro, a photojournalist from Brooklyn, told reporters shortly after the incident he heard the screech of tires and saw a gray Charger accelerate toward the group. Several hundred people were peacefully marching through downtown.

Nigro says it was "chaos and mayhem" as bodies flew.

Officials didn't immediately release any further information and it wasn't immediately clear if anyone was in custody.

2 p.m.

Authorities are on the scene after a vehicle plowed into a group of people marching peacefully through downtown Charlottesville.

An Associated Press reporter saw at least one person on the ground receiving medical treatment immediately afterward the incident. It occurred approximately two hours after violent clashes between white nationalists and counter-protesters.

The nationalists were holding the rally to protest plans by the city of Charlottesville to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

There were several hundred protesters marching in a long line when the car drove into a group of them.

1:40 p.m.

President Donald Trump is tweeting about the violence that has erupted amid a white supremacist march in Virginia.

Trump tweeted Saturday that "we ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for." He then wrote "There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Lets come together as one!"

The demonstrations began Friday in Charlottesville with white nationalists marching through town and while carrying lit torches. The demonstrators then clashed with counter-protesters.

Some of the white nationalists cited Trump's victory as validation for their beliefs.

The White House was silent for hours about the clashes except for a solitary tweet from First Lady Melania Trump. The president has received previous criticism for being slow to condemn acts of hate done in his name.

1:35 p.m.

The organizer of a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville is encouraging attendees to leave town after authorities declared an unlawful assembly and police ordered people to disperse.

Right-wing blogger Jason Kessler organized Saturday's rally to protest the city's decision to remove a statue of confederate General Robert E. Lee.

Kessler told The Associated Press Saturday that he and other people who were going to speak at the event evacuated with security when police issued the order to disperse.

He says he wants rally attendees to leave town peacefully.

Richard Spencer is a prominent alt-right activist who was scheduled to speak. He says he's also encouraging people to go home.

First Lady Melania Trump is calling for peace after violent clashes broke out at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville.

Trump said Saturday on Twitter: "Our country encourages freedom of speech, but let's communicate w/o hate in our hearts. No good comes from violence."

Hundreds of white nationalists and counter protestors faced off Saturday in downtown Charlottesville, with several violent clashes erupting.

It's the latest confrontation in the city since it voted to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a downtown park.

12:35 p.m.

The NHL's Detroit Red Wings released a statement denouncing the use of their logo at the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and saying they are considering legal action to stop it.

The team says it "vehemently" disagrees with and is not associated with the event. The Red Wings add they are "exploring every possible legal action as it pertains to the misuse of our logo in this disturbing demonstration."

A Michigan-based white nationalist group called the Detroit Right Wings uses the Red Wings' logo. The organization posted on its Twitter account that members had arrived in Charlottesville.

12:25 p.m.

Virginia's governor has declared a state of emergency in response to a white nationalist rally that is expected to draw up to 6,000 people.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe said via his Twitter account on Saturday morning that the declaration was made in order "to aid state response to violence" at the rally in Charlottesville, about 100 miles outside of Washington, D.C.

It's the latest confrontation in the city since it voted earlier this year to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a downtown park.

The city's manager also declared a local emergency and police ordered people to disperse from the area around the statue after several violent clashes broke out.

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Comments on: The Latest: Organizer of 'pro-white' rally disavows violence

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Displaying 1 - 7 of 7 total comments

RBear says... August 12, 2017 at 4:43 p.m.

The blood of this incident is on Kessler's hands as he is the one who brought together a group of individuals who were looking for confrontation. The chants from protesters of "blood and soil" should have been enough to have called this off. Kessler doesn't get a free pass with his feigned concerned now. His blog promotes hatred and his events promote hatred.

( | suggest removal )

BoudinMan says... August 12, 2017 at 4:49 p.m.

The "blood and soil" chant, along with the torch lit procession, should produce chills to anybody intelligent enough to recognize that era in history. Shame on these people.

( | suggest removal )

RBear says... August 12, 2017 at 6:11 p.m.

Agree. The most chilling image was the faces of those protesters. They were not skinheads or rednecks. They were average looking white males who could pass for your friends and neighbors. Their faces will now be in the images of history. Their children and grandchildren will live with those images.

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DontDrinkDatKoolAid says... August 12, 2017 at 8:15 p.m.

The South will rise again. Just Jon B.

( | suggest removal )

ARMNAR says... August 12, 2017 at 8:37 p.m.

DK, what the hell are you trying to say? You've posted the same thing twice, and it makes no sense either time. Do you even read what you type prior to posting?

"Just Jon B.?" WTF?

( | suggest removal )

DontDrinkDatKoolAid says... August 12, 2017 at 10:03 p.m.

Oh ... "The South will rise again. Just ask Jon B."

( | suggest removal )

ARMNAR says... August 12, 2017 at 10:56 p.m.

That still makes no sense.

If that was your aim, congrats.

( | suggest removal )

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