A Ku Klux Klan leader has said he is happy a woman died while taking part in a protest against white supremacists in Charlottesville.
Heather Heyer was killed after a car drove at speed into a crowd of anti-fascist protesters in the Virginia city over the weekend and left scores injured. The 32-year-old counter-protester was one of hundreds who descended on the city to protest against the largest gathering of white nationalists in America in decades.
James Alex Fields Jr, a 20-year-old from Ohio, was arrested on Saturday and charged with second-degree murder and other criminal counts. He is being held in a Virgina jail in connection with the deadly crash.
Justin Moore, the Grand Dragon for the Loyal White Knights of the KKK, has now said he is pleased about the fact Ms Heyer was killed.
"I'm sorta glad that them people got hit and I'm glad that girl died," Mr Moore said in a voicemail message to WBTV. "They were a bunch of Communists out there protesting against somebody's freedom of speech, so it doesn't bother me that they got hurt at all."
He also warned the deadly violence which erupted was going to become more common.
He said: "I think we're going to see more stuff like this happening at white nationalist events."
Mr Moore added: "We were out there and I seen a lot of communist flags and anti-fascist and we're going to see more stuff like this. White people are getting fed up with the double standard setup in America today by the controlled press.
"We should have been able to go out there and have our protest and it should have been peaceful but it's the anti-fascist and the communists ... continuing to try and stop us. So I think there will be more violence like this in the future to come."
Neo-Nazis, skinheads, and members of the KKK assembled in the ordinarily quiet university town shouting racial epithets, holding flaming torches, carrying assault rifles and wearing paramilitary clothing. Tensions with anti-fascists boiled over into street clashes with rocks and pepper spray, with two policemen killed in a helicopter crash while trying to bring peace to the area.
David Duke, the former head of the KKK, has been similarly supportive of the young man who is suspected of ploughing into anti-fascist protesters. He said Mr Fields had reacted consistently with the violent chaos which ravaged Charlottesville.
“When you’re under attack… you panic, and you do things that are stupid and you do things that are wrong,” Mr Duke said in Periscope video.
President Donald Trump prompted yet further shock and outrage yesterday after he defended far-right extremists at the Charlottesville rally and claimed blame should be shared by both sides.
In the immediate wake of the violence, Mr Trump faced a torrent of criticism after refusing to condemn the actions of white supremacists and instead insisting the blame was on "many sides".
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides,” he said during a press conference. “On many sides.”
While he read another statement approximately 48 hours after the violence in which he specifically said "racism is evil" and condemned “white Supremacists, KKK, neo-nazi and all extremist groups” he has now performed a drastic U-turn.
During a raucous press conference in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York in which he repeatedly called the gathered press "fake media”, he said: “I’m not putting anybody on a moral plane. You had a group on one side and group on the other and they came at each other with clubs – there is another side, you can call them the left, that came violently attacking the other group. You had people that were very fine people on both sides.
“Not all those people were neo-Nazis, not all those people were white supremacists. Many of those people were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E Lee. So this week, it is Robert E Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?”
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