Demonstrators across US protest racism, Trump after Charlottesville violence (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)
Demonstrators have gathered across the United States to decry racism and hatred following a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, which led to violent clashes and the death of a 32-year-old woman.
Protesters turned out from coast to coast to deliver many different messages.
While some came out to support groups which are condemned by white supremacists, others rallied for the removal of Confederate monuments – the issue that prompted the Charlottesville rally on Saturday.
Others gathered to denounce fascism and the Trump administration, which many feel have empowered white supremacists.
Hundreds of counter-protesters turned up to a right-wing rally in Seattle, prompting riot police to separate the two groups with a barricade.
Footage posted online appears to show members of the two sides facing off in the street. Someone out of the camera frame can be heard shouting "F**k off fascists!"
Police used pepper spray and blast balls to disperse crowds after fireworks were thrown at officers, according to a statement issued by the city of Seattle.
Authorities said they observed some people infiltrating peaceful counter-protesters while carrying ax handles, two-by-four pieces of wood, and balloons containing an “unknown liquid substance.”
Three men were arrested and several weapons were confiscated.
Three arrested, no serious injuries reported as police worked to keep two planned demonstrations from converging. https://t.co/zPvISsVJ0o— Seattle Police Dept. (@SeattlePD) August 14, 2017
Several hundred protesters also turned up in Denver, gathering beneath a statue of Martin Luther King Jr. in City Park and marching two miles to the state capitol.
Protesters in Fort Collins, Colorado, also turned out to march, with demonstrators shouting “Everyone is welcome here. No hate, no fear.” One banner said “Make racists ashamed again,” AP reported.
In Manhattan, protesters marched from several locations to Trump Tower, demanding the president denounce white supremacist groups involved in the Saturday violence in Charlottesville.
The New York City protesters could be heard shouting “No Trump! No KKK! No fascist USA!”
Others marched through downtown Los Angeles, including 62-year-old Helen Rubenstein, whose parents were Holocaust survivors. She said she fears extremist views are becoming the new normal under the Trump administration.
“I blame Donald Trump 100 percent because he emboldened all these people to incite hate, and they are now promoting violence and killing,” Rubenstein told AP.
In Chicago, protesters could be seen holding giant replicas of Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. The Trump mock-up displayed a sign that said “fascist,” while Pence's sign said “Christian theocrat.”
Protesters also gathered outside the White House in Washington DC, holding signs which read “Trump = Hate” and “Wake up and smell the Nazis.”
The mood was more solemn in Charlottesville on Sunday, with mourners gathering for a candlelight vigil to pay respect to 32-year-old Heather Heyer, who was killed when James Alex Fields allegedly plowed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters at the ‘Unite the Right’ rally. Nineteen others were injured.
Additional rallies took place in other locations across the US on Sunday, from western Michigan to South Carolina. Activist group Indivisible Guide wrote on Facebook that 500 events had been organized.
“People need to wake up, recognize that and resist it as fearlessly as it needs to be done,” Carl Dix, a leader of the Refuse Fascism group which organized demonstrations in New York, San Francisco, and other cities, told AP.
“This can't be allowed to fester and to grow because we've seen what happened in the past when that was allowed.”
Trump has been criticized for failing to explicitly denounce the white supremacists involved in the Saturday violence in Charlottesville, instead opting to condemn “hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides.”
However, the White House said on Sunday that Trump "said very strongly in his statement yesterday that he condemns all forms of violence, bigotry and hatred, and of course that includes white supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazi and all extremist groups..."