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Sunday, 13 August 2017

Politics: Protesters chased "Unite the Right" rally organizer Jason Kessler out of his own press conference

Unite The Right rally organizer Jason Kessler is helped by police after being tackled by a woman following his attempt to speak at a press conference in front of Charlottesville City Hall in Charlottesville, Virginia, August 13, 2017.

Kessler had to be escorted out by a member of the law enforcement as protesters chased him away.

Jason Kessler, the organizer of the "Unite the Right" white nationalist rally that turned deadly Saturday, called a press conference Sunday afternoon to address the previous day's events, but was quickly chased off by protesters.

Kessler had called the press conference for 2 p.m. local time behind the Charlottesville City Hall along with Richard Spencer and other participants of Saturday's rally, but was greeted by raucous boos and cries of "Shame!" as he arrived at the microphone.

Kessler said a few "people resorting to violence yesterday" before protesters began shouting over him.

Multiple news outlets, protesters, and bystanders caught the moment on video:

"Indict for murder now," one protester can be heard yelling. "He invited these people!"

The protester was likely referring to the scores of white nationalists who arrived to rally in Charlottesville in response to the city's plans to remove a confederate statue honoring Gen. Robert E. Lee.

"Get the f--- out of here," another protester is heard yelling in the background.

Saturday's rally took a deadly turn as white nationalists clashed with counter-protesters, ultimately resulting in the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer when apparent white supremacist James Fields rammed his car into a crowd of demonstrators. Two members of the Virginia State Police force were also killed in a helicopter crash outside Charlottesville as they were monitoring the protests.

The police told reporters Saturday evening that they were holding Fields on suspicion of second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding, and one hit-and-run count. Fields' bond hearing is scheduled for Monday morning.

Protesters quickly turned rowdy during the press conference. As Kessler attempted to leave, one protester appeared to try to punch Kessler before being restrained, according to video footage. Kessler is then seen ducking through bushes and trees in an attempt to safely leave the area, all while being followed by protesters.

At one point, Kessler had to be escorted by a member of law enforcement, who can be heard saying to Kessler, "Come with me, come on," while ushering the man away.

As Kessler was leaving, a protester can be heard shouting, "Her name was Heather, sir," referring to Heyer, the woman who died Saturday. "Her name was Heather, Jason. Her blood is on your hands."

Another protester can be heard saying, "Jason, what do you have to say for yourself? What did you try to tell the president?"

President Donald Trump addressed the violence in Charlottesville on Saturday but drew sharp criticism for not singling out the white nationalists.

"We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides," Trump said at a press conference. "On many sides."

He added: "It's been going on for a long, long time in our country. Not Donald Trump. Not Barack Obama. It's been going on for a long, long time."

The FBI announced late Saturday evening it would open a civil rights investigation into the circumstances around "the deadly vehicular incident," ABC News reported.



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