White nationalists and neo-Nazis have been clashing with counter-protestors in Charlottesville, where several people have been injured and Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe has declared a state of emergency.
The clashes erupted in the town that is the home to the University of Virginia after white nationalists gathered in the city’s Emancipation Park and nearby streets on Saturday to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee. The New York Times reports that hundreds gathered around the statue of the Confederate general chanting phrases like “Jew will not replace us.”
One person was killed and 19 injured when a car ran into a group of counter-protestors. “I am heartbroken that a life has been lost here. I urge all people of good will–go home,” Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer tweeted on Saturday afternoon.
First Lady Melania Trump tweeted about the protests on Saturday, writing, “Our country encourages freedom of speech, but let’s communicate w/o hate in our hearts. No good comes from violence. #Charlottesville.”
Speaker Paul Ryan also tweeted a statement, writing, “The views fueling the spectacle in Charlottesville are repugnant. Let it only serve to unite Americans against this kind of vile bigotry.”
The president broke his silence shortly afterward, tweeting, “We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. , tweeting, “We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Lets come together as one!”
Trump later spoke to reporters in Bedminster, New Jersey, saying in a statement, “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides.”
Earlier in the day several celebrities took to Twitter to condemn the violence and ask the president to speak out.
“Neo Nazis are beating clergymen in Charlottesville this morning and Trump is silent,” Emmy Rossum tweeted.
President Bill Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea, wrote simply, “Mr. President?”
“You got Nazis marching in #Charlottesville in case Fox News didn’t mention. Setting my timer to infinity awaiting ur remarks,” tweeted Jeffrey Wright. “Show yourself.”
Read more tweets below.
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