The Jewish mayor of Charlottesville, Virginia blamed U.S. President Donald Trump for stoking the violence that has erupted at a white supremacist rally in the Virginia college town.
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“I’m not going to make any bones about it,” Mayor Michael Signer said. “I place the blame for a lot of what you’re seeing in America today right at the doorstep of the White House and the people around the President.”
White nationalists clashed with counter-demonstrators in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday, prompting the governor to declare an emergency and stop a rally to protest the planned removal of a Confederate general from a public park.
Fighting broke out in the city’s downtown before noon when hundreds of people, some wearing white nationalist symbols and carrying Confederate battle flags, were confronted by a nearly equal number of counter-protesters. The clashes began the previous evening, resulting in at least one arrest.
Many of the combatants on both sides wore helmets and held shields, and some in the crowd brandished wooden poles. Militia members in the city openly carried rifles, although no gunfire was reported.
“You will not erase us,” chanted a crowd of white nationalists, while counter-protesters carried placards that read: “Nazi go home” and “Smash white supremacy.”
Trump, who is vacationing at his New Jersey golf club, condemned the violence and urged Americans to “come together as one.”