The usually quiet university city of Charlottesville, Virginia, erupted into chaos Saturday when far-right extremists gathering for a “Unite the Right” event clashed with counter-protesters, leaving more than a dozen injured and several under arrest.
The melee turned deadly in the morning when a car plowed into a group of counter-protesters, killing a 32-year-old woman and leaving 19 others injured, five critically. The driver was charged with murder in an incident a bystander described as “the most horrible thing I’ve ever witnessed.”
And two state troopers who were part of the response to the events in Charlottesville died when their helicopter crashed several miles outside the city.
The gathering of white nationalists was roundly condemned and a number of politicians called for the events to be called a terror attack. But president Trump drew scrutiny for issuing what some viewed as an equivocating statement that there was “hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides.”
The state of Virginia declared the gathering unlawful and ordered both rallygoers and counter-protesters to “disperse immediately,” but tensions boiled over in the city’s streets well into the afternoon Saturday.
The Virginia State Police posted videos on Facebook of officers breaking up the Unite the Right gathering and counter-protest. Warning: The videos contain some offensive language and images.
One video shows an officer in announcing to milling crowds: “This gathering has been declared as to be an unlawful assembly; in the name of the Commonwealth, you are commanded to immediately disperse; if you do not disperse immediately you will be arrested.” Another video shows some of the crowd.
Charlottesville police reported Saturday evening that 14 people had been injured in the clashes and that more than a dozen others were injure in the vehicle ramming incident that left a woman dead in the city’s…