Protesters in Union Square rally against violence in Virginia
More than 100 people gathered in Union Square on Saturday to protest
the events at demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Black Lives Matter NYC organized the rally a few hours after violent protests in the Virginia city.
"Black lives, they matter here!" many people chanted in Union Square.
Rally organizers asked people who attended to talk to friends about
acceptance in the wake of the Charlottesville protests.
Sarah Holdren, a Charlottesville-native, was also there and said recent events in her town sickened her.
"This horrific event has been on my radar ever since they've
been planning it," Holden said. "I've been checking in with
my family and friends, and it's not only sickening to see what's
happening; it's also massively disheartening to see some of the way
the city's leadership and law enforcement is handling it."
One man who expressed an opposing opinion during the Union Square rally was shouted down, but the rally has remained nonviolent through the early evening.
Just a few hours before the Manhattan protest, with the Charlottesville rally already turning violent, a car plowed into a crowd of people peacefully protesting white nationalists rallying in the Virginia city.
The car killed at least one person and injured dozens of people, according to officials. The driver was later arrested.
A helicopter crashed near Charlottesville later Saturday, according
to police, killing the pilot and a passenger.
Officials said it has been linked to the white nationalist rally. It was not immediately clear how the crash was connected to the rally.
A helicopter crashed near Charlottesville later Saturday, according to police. It is unclear if there was any link to the rally.
The chaos boiled over at what was believed to be the largest group
of white nationalists to come together in a decade: the governor
declared a state of emergency, and police dressed in riot gear ordered
The white nationalists had gathered to protest plans to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
Counter-protesters were present as well, leading to clashes. The
turbulence began Friday night, when the white nationalists carried
torches though the university campus in what they billed as a
It quickly spiraled into violence Saturday morning, with hundreds of people throwing punches, hurling water bottles, and unleashing chemical sprays.
"We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides, on many sides," President Trump said in a press conference Saturday afternoon. "This has 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."
But some of the white nationalists cited Trump's 2016 election victory as validation for their beliefs, and Trump's critics pointed to the president's racially tinged rhetoric as exploiting the nation's festering racial tension.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson noted that Trump for years publicly questioned President Obama's citizenship.
Many officials also criticized the president for claiming that
hatred has been "on many sides."
We will continue to fight against the deep-seated racism that exists in our country wherever it appears. https://t.co/dWhKhuu8gW— Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) August 12, 2017
No, Mr. Trump – there are not many sides to hate. pic.twitter.com/NEBoO4PUaV— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) August 12, 2017
Of course we condemn ALL that hate stands for. Until @POTUS specifically condemns alt-right action in Charlottesville, he hasnt done his job— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) August 12, 2017
Mr. President - we must call evil by its name. These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism. https://t.co/PaPNiPPAoW— Cory Gardner (@SenCoryGardner) August 12, 2017
The president did not mention or condemn the white supremacists directly in his press conference, and he did not describe the car crashing into protesters as an act of terrorism. Many people have in the past denounced cars plowing into people as acts of terrorism, such as in July 2016 when a truck drove into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, France, killing dozens of people.