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Congregate Charlottesville Confronts Unite The Right 20 | by Stephen D. Melkisethian
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Congregate Charlottesville Confronts Unite The Right 20

Charlottesville, Virginia, August 12, 2017. Over a thousand white supremacist neo-Nazi and neo-Confederate activists gathered for a Unite The RIght rally near Emancipation Park, ostensibly to protest the slated removal of a Robert E. Lee statue here but also to show their renewed strength and unity in the wake of Donald J. Trump's election to the Presidency Of The United States Of America. Confederate, Nazi and other white supremacist flags were on display. Many of the participants openly carried firearms and other weapons. They were met by an equal number of anti-racist activists, most associated with respectable social justice and faith groups but also a small number of troublemakers who are not committed to non-violence. There were numerous violent confrontations but make no mistake about it; the violence was initiated by the white supremacists. The police declared the event over and most of the right wingers marched out of the downtown area under police escort. On the way out I saw two of the right winger vehicles leaving my parking lot try to run down innocent pedestrians. This was a harbinger of the tragedy that would follow minutes later. As the counter protesters jubilantly marched through the nearly empty downtown streets 21 year old white male James Alex Fields drove his silver grey Dodge Challenger purposefully into the crowd killing 32 year old activist Heather Heyer and injuring over a dozen more. As I was driving out of town the police waved at me to stop. On my left I saw a Dodge Challenger with front end damage parked in the right lane. Outside on the ground sat a 20ish white male in handcuffs. The man looked right at me; I was driving a pitch black Dodge Challenger. It took us a minute to process but we were looking right at the killer.

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Taken on August 12, 2017