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Anti-white supremacist protesters

The City of Charlottesville released a statement on those killed during the violent rally

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Updated August 13, 2017 01:57 PM EDT

The City of Charlottesville released a statement Sunday, offering condolences to the families of the three people who died during Saturday's supremacist rally.

"On behalf of the City of Charlottesville and all of our citizens, we send our deepest condolences to the families and friends of Ms. Heyer, Lieutenant Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Bates," the statement read. "Their loss is a loss for all of us and we mourn with you."

Updated August 13, 2017 10:58 AM EDT

Charlottesville Police have identified 32-year-old Heather Heyer as the woman who was killed when a driver struck a group of pedestrians with his car during a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday.

Heyer was rushed to UVA Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

A GoFundMe has been set up for her family, and on the page her mother is quoted saying, "She died doing what was right. My heart is broken, but I am forever proud of her."

Updated August 13, 2017 08:42 AM EDT

The FBI announced they are opening a civil rights investigation after the violent events at the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday that was connected to three deaths.

In a statement, the FBI's Richmond, Virginia, division said they will be investigating the deadly car crash that happened during the rally, where a man drove his car into a group of counter protesters, killing a 32-year-old woman and leaving many more injured.

James Alex Fields Jr., 20, has been charged with second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding and one count of a hit and run in connection to the crash, according to police.

Fields fled the scene, but was arrested shortly after. His car was registered in Ohio.

Three others have also been arrested in connection with the rally.

Troy Dunigan, 21, was arrested for disorderly conduct, Jacob Smith, 21, was arrested for misdemeanor assault and battery and James O'Brien, 44, was arrested for carrying a concealed handgun, Virginia State Police said in a statement.

Many politicians and celebrities commented on the deadly rally on Twitter, and the latest to comment is First Daughter Ivanka Trump, who in a series of Tweets on Sunday said, "There should be no place in society for racism, white supremacy and neo-Nazis. We must all come together as Americans--and be one country UNITED."

Updated August 12, 2017 08:29 PM EDT

The death toll from the violent white nationalist rally held in Charlottesville, Virginia Saturday has risen to three after officials said the helicopter crash that killed two was linked to the protests.

Virginia State Police confirmed in a Facebook post that a helicopter had went down around 5 p.m. in a wooded area just outside of Charlottesville.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe had said during a press conference about the rally that there were three deaths in Charlottesville that day, but it was unclear at the time whether the helicopter crash was connected to the rally.

The two fatalities are in addition to the earlier confirmed death of a 32-year-old woman who was killed during the rally by a car that drove into pedestrians. The name of the woman has not been released yet out of respect for her family.

The driver of the car has been identified by police as James Alex Fields, Jr., 20, from Ohio. Fields has been charged with charged with second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding, and one count related to leaving the scene. A bond hearing is scheduled for Monday.

The Richmond FBI Office is opening a civil rights investigation into the deadly car attack.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Updated August 12, 2017 06:48 PM EDT

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe held a press conference Saturday evening to address the events that had unfolded earlier at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville that resulted in the death of a 32-year-old woman and 35 others injured.

"I have a message to all the white supremacists and the Nazis who came into Charlottesville today...go home," he said.

McAuliffee said there had been three deaths in Charlottesville Saturday. Virginia State Police announced on their Facebook page only a few hours earlier that a helicopter had crashed and there were two fatalities, but it is still unclear if the helicopter was related to the rally.

Charlottesville police chief Al Thomas confirmed the death of the woman, who was killed when she was crossing the street as a car struck a group of counter protesters. The name of the woman is being withheld until authorities can contact her family.

Thomas also confirmed the rally had resulted in 35 injuries, and 19 of them were from the car crash.

The male driver is in custody with charges pending, and Thomas said they are handling the incident as a criminal homicide investigation.

Updated August 12, 2017 04:00 PM EDT

One person has died and 34 are injured after a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia turned violent Saturday.

Charlottesville mayor announced the news of the death on Twitter, "I am heartbroken that a life has been lost here. I urge all people of good will--go home."

At least 19 others were injured after a car struck a group of pedestrians, and all victims were taken to the University of Virginia Medical Center. The driver of the car has been taken into custody.

City officials said 15 others have also been injured during the protest.

Soon after, President Donald Trump took the stage to sign a health care bill for veterans and condemned the violence at the rally.

"We have so many incredible things happening in our country, so when I watch Charlottesville, to me it’s very very sad," Trump said.

He also took this time to talk about what he said were the "incredible things happening," including low unemployment and renegotiating trade deals.

Trump thanked the local law enforcement in Virginia and the National Guard for doing a "terrific job," and said federal authorities will continue to lend support.

"We must remember this truth, no matter our color, creed, religion or political party, we are all Americans first," Trump said.

2016 presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have also responded.

"Now is the time for leaders to be strong in their words & deliberate in their actions," Clinton said, Tweeting several times about the incident. "We will not step backward. If this is not who we are as Americans, let's prove it."

And Sanders also made several comments over Twitter, "As hate crimes and hostility towards minorities surge, now more than ever we must stand against those who threaten our brothers and sisters."

Updated August 12, 2017 02:32 PM EDT

After the Unite the Right rally was officially shut down by law enforcement, three cars collided among a group of counter protesters, injuring at least 10 people, the Washington Post reported.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency on Saturday after thousands of alt-right activists and counterprotesters gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia, to participate in the "United the Right Free Speech Rally"--a demonstration aimed to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Though the formal demonstration began at noon, demonstrators were seen taking the streets since early Saturday morning. The violence, however, reached a peak in the afternoon, forcing law enforcement officials to order the evacuation of Emancipation Park after several people were injured, and at least one person was arrested. Circulating reports suggested that there were nearly 1,000 law enforcement officials at the rally to preserve civility.

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Thousands gather at the 'Unite the Right' rally in Charlottesville, Virginia
White nationalist demonstrators clash with a counter demonstrator as he throws a newspaper box at the entrance to Lee Park in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017. Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency and police dressed in riot gear ordered people to disperse after chaotic violent clashes between white nationalists and counter protestors. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
A white nationalist demonstrator, bloodied after a clash with a counter demonstrator, talks on the radio receiver at the entrance to Lee Park in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017. Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency and police dressed in riot gear ordered people to disperse after chaotic violent clashes between white nationalists and counter protestors. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
White nationalist demonstrators walk into Lee park surrounded by counter demonstrators in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017. Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency and police dressed in riot gear ordered people to disperse after chaotic violent clashes between white nationalists and counter protestors. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
White nationalist demonstrators hold their ground as they clash with counter demonstrators in Lee Park in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017. Hundreds of people chanted, threw punches, hurled water bottles and unleashed chemical sprays on each other Saturday after violence erupted at a white nationalist rally in Virginia. At least one person was arrested. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
A counter demonstrator uses a lighted spray can against a white nationalist demonstrator at the entrance to Lee Park in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017. Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency and police dressed in riot gear ordered people to disperse after chaotic violent clashes between white nationalists and counter protestors. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
A counter demonstrator gets a splash of water after being hit by pepper spray at the entrance to Lee Park in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017. Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency and police dressed in riot gear ordered people to disperse after chaotic violent clashes between white nationalists and counter protestors. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Colleen Cook, 26, holds a sign as hundreds of people are facing off in Charlottesville, Va., ahead of a white nationalist rally planned in the Virginia city's downtown, Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017. Cook, a teacher who attended UVA, said she sent her black son out of town for the weekend. "This isn't how he should have to grow up," she said. (AP Photo/Sarah Rankin)

Chants of “Build the wall!” “White lives matter!” echoed among alt-right activists, many donning camouflage, helmets and heavy armory.

United the Right rally: "Build the wall!'

Counterprotesters, however, made a stark statement to the opposition by peacefully marching and, at times, holding hands. Signs read “Black lives matter” and “Against white supremacy.”

Some yelled “anti-facista,” adding to the park’s seemingly chaotic environment.

Even after police began to clear the Emancipation Park where thousands were gathered for the rally, hostile behavior continued elsewhere. Protesters were seen burning the Confederate flag.

Burning the confederate flag
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As the rally’s intensity began to pick up steam, high-ranking Republican officials were quick to denounce the march's violence.

Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel was one of the first to condemn the behavior, underscoring the power of the First Amendment in countering “cowardly” actions.

First Lady Melania Trump responded to the ongoing incident before her husband, President Trump, who is currently in New Jersey for a working vacation.

Meanwhile, President Trump responded after 1 p.m.

House Speaker Paul Ryan described the “spectacle” in Charlottesville “repugnant.”

According to the event's Facebook page, which has since been taken down, the rally aimed to unify the right-wing against a "totalitarian Communist crackdown, to speak out against displacement level immigration policies in the United States and Europe and to affirm the right of Southerners and white people to organize for their interests just like any other group is able to do, free of persecution."

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Saturday's "Unite the Right" rally encountered difficulties in obtaining the necessary permit to host a rally. The rally's organizer, Jason Kessler, originally applied for a permit to host the rally at Emancipation Park. That request, however, was denied after city officials claimed that the "many thousands" attending the rally would create public safety problems. Unsatisfied with the decision, Kessler teamed up with the American Civil Liberties Union and the Rutherford Institute to file a federal lawsuit against Charlottesville for attempting to relocate the event to McIntire Park, citing a violating of the First and Fourteen Amendments.

Late Friday, a federal judge cleared the way for the event to take place at Emancipation Park.

Following the late-night decision, John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute, said:

“While this is an important victory for the First Amendment right to free speech, the real battle for understanding and tolerance on both sides of the aisle is only just beginning. It is our hope that this weekend’s demonstrations will be nonviolent and characterized by a commitment across the board to truly engaging in a dialogue about race in America that helps us to move that much closer to Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream.”

On Friday, circulating reports indicated that several hundred white nationalists participated in a short night rally held at the University of Virginia campus. Counterprotesters also gathered to rebuke those chanting "White lives matter!" "You will not replace us!" and "Jews will not replace us!" and carrying torches at the base of a statue of Thomas Jefferson--the university's founder. Fifteen to twenty minutes into the rally, a short skirmish erupted after at least one of the counterprotesters appeared to use chemical spray--disrupting the vision of a dozen or so marchers and leaving them to seek medical assistance.

University president Teresa Sullivan condemned the violence, saying she was "deeply saddened and disturbed" by the "hateful behavior" provoked by "torch-bearing protesters."

"Law enforcement continues to investigate the incident, and it is my hope that any individuals responsible for criminal acts are held accountable. The violence displayed on Grounds is intolerable and is entirely inconsistent with the University’s values."
Teresa Sullivan


Anticipating potential run-ins with authorities after a preview rally on Friday resulted in a few skirmishes, Gov. Terry McAuliffe called on the National Guard to be on standby and assist law enforcement.

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"I have directed [officials] to coordinate with federal and local authorities and take every precaution necessary to ensure the safety of their personnel, the Charlottesville community and rally attendees," he said in a statement. "Virginia State Police is leading the Commonwealth's planning and response for these events and will be on the scene in support capacity before, during and after the planned rally. At my direction, personnel from the Virginia National Guard are also standing by to respond if needed."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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