White supremacist behind Charlottesville rally 'chased out of town' by activists

Jason Kessler was scheduled to speak at a city council meeting, but did not appear

Emily Shugerman
New York
Tuesday 03 October 2017 21:10 BST
Local activists get standing ovation after 'chasing white supremacist out of council meeting'

Activists in Charlottesville, Virginia – the site of a violent, white-supremacist rally over the summer – claim to have chased a prominent white supremacist out of a city council meeting.

The organiser of the Unite the Right rally, Jason Kessler, recently signed up to speak at a Charlottesville town meeting. Seeing his name of the speaker’s list that day, city council member Kristin Szakos told The Independent she thought: “Uh-oh, this could get ugly.”

But Ms Szakos had nothing to worry about. When she called Mr Kessler’s name, he did not appear. Instead, someone called out from the audience: “We chased him out of town!”

“We found him and his friends and we chased him out of town tonight," yelled another. "That’s why he’s not in this room right now."

The meeting room erupted in applause. Several townspeople got to their feet to cheer.

“That’s appreciated,” one city council member announced through his microphone.

Afterward, Ms Szakos talked to activists who said they had followed Mr Kessler out of the meeting, and into a town nearly 45 minutes away.

"This whole time we had been sitting in a meeting, they had been chasing him out of town with their car," she said.

A local activist group called Solidarity CVille celebrated the news online. The organisation claimed Mr Kessler, a Charlottesville resident, had met with members of a white supremacist organisation in Charlottesville that day.

“When word spread of these sightings, community members gathered to protect and defend Charlottesville from the presence of these white supremacists,” Solidarity CVille wrote in a post on Medium.

Charlottesville police said they did not receive any reports of the white supremacist organisation, League of the South, organising on Monday. Mr Kessler did not respond to requests for comment.

Nazi shouts "Hey n****" and fires gunshot at counter-protester in Charlottesville

Charlottesville was shaken by the force of the Unite the Right rally this summer, when thousands of people descended on the small, southern city to protest the removal of a Confederate statue.

Members of neo-Nazi, Ku Klux Klan, and other white supremacist groups flocked to the event, said to be the largest white supremacist gathering in decade.

Dozens of people were injured in clashes between protesters and counter-protesters over the balmy August weekend. One woman, 32-year-old Heather Heyer, was killed.

At the end of Monday’s city council meeting, members voted to name a street in downtown Charlottesville “Heather Heyer Way”.

“We can’t bring her back, and if we could bring her back we would,” said Neighbourhood Development Services Director Alex Ikefuna, who presented the proposal.

He added: "We can only designate this stretch of this street in remembrance of this special lady, who stood for fairness, social justice, and positive change in our community.”

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