THE FOLLOWING VIDEO CONTAINS DISTURBING FOOTAGE AND WE RECOMMEND YOU WATCH THE VIDEO PRIOR TO SHOWING IT TO STUDENTS
This story has been taken from the transcript of the video. You can find it in its entirety here
At least one person is dead and several are injured tonight after protests and counter protests turned violent in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The violent clashes began before a so-called “Unite the Right” rally scheduled to take place in Charlottesville’s McIntire Park.
Organizers had originally planned to hold a rally in the city’s “Emancipation Park,” which used to be called “Lee Park” in honor of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The Charlottesville City Council voted in April to remove a bronze statue of Lee from that park, sparking opposition by white nationalists.
They converged on the park today, waving Confederate flags and chanting Nazi-era slogans. They were soon surrounded by counter-protesters with their own signs and chants. Shoving and fighting soon followed.
A spokesman for the Anti-Defamation League called today’s protest a “white supremacist rally,” indicating, “The darkest corners of society are emboldened to come forward and openly parade their bigotry on Main Street.”
The rally ended before it ever began. By early afternoon, police had largely cleared the park.
Later, one car plowed into a group of counter-protesters, causing multiple injuries.
This video — posted to Twitter by a staff member of the former U.S. congressman from Charlottesville — shows a car driving into a crowd and then speeding away in reverse. The witness says the crash seemed intentional.
President Trump said today in a tweet, quote: “We must all be united at condemning all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Let’s come together as one.”
Later, he spoke about Charlottesville from his golf club in New Jersey.
- Where is Charlottesville? Who is Robert E. Lee and why is his statue being removed - along with other historical Confederate leaders across the South?
- What is the First Amendment of the Consitution? What is 'hate speech'? The Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment protects 'hate speech', Judge Samel Alito explains here,
- [The idea that the government may restrict] speech expressing ideas that offend … strikes at the heart of the First Amendment. Speech that demeans on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, disability, or any other similar ground is hateful; but the proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express “the thought that we hate.”
- Do you agree that this kind of speech should be protected? The White Supremicist groups who organized this weekend's rally plan to tour other colleges and universities around the country this fall to hold similar rallies. How would you feel if you were a student at one of these schools? What would you do if a White Nationalist rally was being held at your school?
For more resources and information, please visit our #Charlottesville Curriculum page
Visit PBS NewsHour for the latest news and top stories.