Saturday, 12 August 2017

Politics: 1 dead, 19 injured after driver plows into counter-protesters at white nationalist rally in Charlottesville

Counter-protesters lock arms in the middle of a street as police try to disperse them, after members of the Ku Klux Klan rallied in support of Confederate monuments in Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S. July 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

One witness described the incident as "absolutely intentional."

One person is dead and at least 19 are injured after a driver plowed into a crowd of counter-protesters in Charlottesville on Saturday afternoon, city officials said.

The incident occurred after clashes between white nationalists and counter-protesters subsided a bit. The driver is in police custody, and a Virginia State Police spokesperson told The Washington Post that injuries ranged from minor to life-threatening.

The incident appears to have been intentional, and the driver of the car was reportedly arrested shortly after.

The protests accompanied a "Unite the Right" rally that was called by white nationalists in response to a plan to remove a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee from a park in Charlottesville, Virginia.

One of the counter-protesters who was hit described the scene to a reporter shortly after. "There were just a few cars that counter-protesters were blocking," the man said.

He then said that the driver of the car was "honking their horn" and then "they were just, like, bulldozing through people."

Another witness had two friends who were hit by the car and had to take them to the hospital. The witness described the incident as "absolutely intentional."

"A packed street and a car comes speeding down, at least 40 mph and rams into everyone, backs up and does it again," they said in a text message to Outline staff writer William Turton.

"I am furious & heartsick by the car crash that has injured many," Signer tweeted. "Please all-go home to your families. We can work tomorrow. GO HOME! PLEASE!"

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency earlier on Saturday, as clashes between white nationalists and counter-protesters continued to escalate.

Warning: The footage below contains graphic content and may be disturbing to some viewers

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