A man has been charged with murder after he rammed his car into anti-fascist counter-protestors at a rally in Charlottesville, a city in the southeastern US state of Virginia.
Twenty-year-old James Fields, of Ohio, is suspected of killing a 32-year-old woman, who has been identified on social media as Heather Heyer (although authorities are yet to officially release her name). A fundraiser set up in her name has already raied thousands of dollars.
It reads: “Heather Heyer was murdered while protesting against hate. We are raising money to give to her family for anything that they may need. The family is aware of this and is in complete charge of when and where the funds will be released. She is a Greene County native and Graduated from William Monroe High School. Her mother (whom I will not name until she is ready) said ‘She died doing what was right. My heart is broken, but I am forever proud of her’.”
On his Facebook page, suspect Fields had posted images associated with the alt-right, including Pepe the Frog meme, and a photo of Adolf Hitler as a baby. His mother, interviewed by The Blade, said she was aware he was going to a rally: “I thought it had something to do with Trump,” she said. “I try to stay out of his political views. I don’t get too involved.”
Fields had reportedly moved out of her apartment “five or six months ago” to his own apartment in Maumee, a city in neighbouring state Ohio that is an eight hour drive away from Charlottesville.
He has been charged with second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding, and one count related to leaving the scene. Footage from the incident shows a silver car going at highspeed into a group of marchers down a small road, and then reversing back, injuring more people.
The march had been organised by right-wing blogger Jason Kessler, who called for a “pro-white” rally in Charlottesville. It was supported by white nationalists, fascists and KKK factions. Yesterday, former KKK leader David Duke said the rally was a “turning point” in the effort to help people like him “fulfill the promises of Donald Trump”.
A few months ago another KKK rally was held in the city after their council decided to rename two parks which were originally named after Confederate leaders.
Using cars to kill pedestrians has been a tactic used by terrorists to kill and injure all over the world. In the UK a man died in a suspected terror attack outside a north London mosque after van driver Darren Osborne targeted people attending Ramadan night prayers. Vehicles were also used in the Westminster and London Bridge attacks.
President Trump has yet to explicitly condemn the Charlottesville attack. Instead, he used broad terms and said he condemned “hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides” on Saturday. He then repeated the phrase “on many sides”.
The day before the tragedy, on Friday, a smaller march had taken place, which saw fascist campaigners surrounding students, whilst holding aloft flaming torches and using the Nazi salute.
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