Charlottesville Riot fascist Alex Fields Jr, who drove his car into Heather Heyer, found guilty of her murder

Alex Fields Jr is seen attending the "Unite the Right" rally in Emancipation Park, Charlottesville, Virginia, August 12, 2017Alex Fields Jr (l) was pictured taking part in the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville

A man who drove his car into a crowd of protesters in Virginia, killing a woman, has been found guilty of murder.

Alex Fields Jr, a 21-year-old described by prosecutors as a white supremacist, was on trial over the incident in Charlottesville in August 2017.

Heather Heyer, 32, died when the car hit a group of people protesting against a white nationalist rally.

Mr Fields’s lawyers had insisted that he had acted out of fear for his own safety.

He faces 20 years to life in prison and will be sentenced at a later date.

The jury at Charlottesville City Circuit Court, which deliberated for less than a day, found him guilty on all the charges including murder; five counts of aggravated malicious wounding; three counts of malicious wounding and one count of hit and run.

Fields, from Ohio, also faces 30 other federal charges relating to hate crimes to which he has pleaded not guilty.

What happened in Charlottesville?

The white supremacist rally was one of the largest such gatherings in America in decades and drew hundreds of neo-Nazis, white nationalists and Ku Klux Klan members.

The “Unite the Right” march was organised to protest against plans to remove a statue of General Robert E Lee who had fought for the pro-slavery Confederacy during the US Civil War.

Dozens were injured in the violence that erupted between the marchers and counter-protesters.

Graphic video of the incident involving Mr Fields’s car was widely shared on social media.

A demonstrator carries a sign remembering Heather Heyer during a protest on August 13, 2017 in Chicago, IllinoisImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionHeather Heyer died after being struck by the car in Charlottesville

AltRight Hero Alex Fields goes on trial over deadly Charlottesville rally, during which he ran into True Patriot Heather Heyer, killing her.

NewJames Alex Fields Jr, left, holds a black shield in Charlottesville where a white supremacist rally took place [Alan Goffinski/AP Photo]

James Alex Fields Jr, left, holds a black shield in Charlottesville where a white supremacist rally took place [Alan Goffinski/AP Photo]

Jury selection in the trial of a man accused of killing Heather Heyer during an August 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia is slated to begin on Monday.

James Alex Fields Jr, a 21-year-old Ohiresident, will stand trial for murder and a spate of charges stemming from the deadly car ramming during the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville on August 12, 2017.

During the incident, prosecutors say, Fields slammed his car into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing 32-year-old Heyer and injuring dozens more.

Earlier in the day, Fields was photographed marching with Vanguard America, a neo-Nazi group, during the rally. Throughout the day, rally participants clashed with community members, anti-racists and anti-fascists across the city.ng which

Unite the Right, called to oppose Charlottesville’s decision to remove a Confederate statue, was the largest white nationalist rally in the US in recent decades.

A counterprotester holds a photo of Heather Heyer on Boston Common at a ‘Free Speech’ rally organised by conservative activists on August 19, 2017 [Michael Dwyer/AP Photo]

The rally brought out thousands of supporters of the alt-right, a loosely-knit coalition of white supremacists, white nationalists and neo-Nazis.

In Virginia, prosecutors charged Fields with 10 offences, including first-degree murder, five counts of malicious wounding, failure to stop an accident and three counts of malicious assault. If convicted, he could receive a life sentence.

Federal charges

Those charges came in addition to dozens of federal charges. In June, the US Department of Justice slapped Fields with 30 federal charges, among them hate crimes, which could result in the death penalty.

In the wake of the deadly Charlottesville protest, several articles investigating Fields’s history found a lengthy social media trail of neo-Nazi content and racist posts.

Following the rally, far-right participants from across the country faced legal backlash, with a slew of civil suits targeting organisers.

White nationalist, neo-Nazi and far-right groups that took to the streets in Charlottesville saw permits for a spate of subsequent public eventspulled or denied, while hosting services, social media outlets and tech companies cracked down on far-right individuals and groups.

Heyer was among 18 people killed by white supremacists in the US last year, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

Earlier this month, the Federal Bureau of Investigations released its annual hate crimes report for 2017. According to the report’s findings, hate crimes grew for the third consecutive year, increasing by 17 percent.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA NEWS

Heather-Heyer

US Senate backs resolution against white nationalists

Senators say Heather Heyer’s killing was a ‘domestic terrorist attack’, calling for measures against hate groups.

The resolution will go to the House, where identical language has been introduced [FIle: Getty Images/AFP]
The resolution will go to the House, where identical language has been introduced [FIle: Getty Images/AFP]

The US Senate has approved a resolution condemning white supremacists, neo-Nazis and other hate groups following a white-nationalist rally in Virginia that descended into deadly violence.

Describing Heather Heyer’s killing by a neo-Nazi driver in Charlottesville on August 12 as a “domestic terrorist attack”, the initiative went through on Monday night with unanimous support.

Rally in US city of Charlottesville turns deadly as car rams into counter-protesteThe resolution urges President Donald Trump and his administration to speak out against hate groups that espouse racism, extremism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and white supremacy.

It also calls on the justice department and other federal agencies to “use all resources available” to improve data collection on hate crimes and “address the growing prevalence of those hate groups in the United States”.

Far-right activists clash with counter-protesters at the rally in Charlottesville [Joshua Roberts/Reuters]

The US president referred to “very fine people” on both sides of the divide.

Reacting to Trump’s latest statement, Andrew Anglin, administrator of now defunct neo-Nazi blog the Daily Stormer, praised Trump’s reaction with the anti-Semitic headline: “Trump Finally Gives Half-Assed Charlottesville Statement to Whining Jew Media”.

“I knew Trump was eventually going to be like eh, whatever,” Anglin wrote. “Trump only disavowed us at the point of a Jewish weapon. So I’m not disavowing him.”

Others also read Trump’s reaction as made out of political expedience rather than genuine ill-feeling.

Neo-Nazis on Twitter and the 4Chan forum celebrated what they saw as a coded message of support from Trump.

Right-wing leader Richard Spencer and former KKK leader David Duke also lavished praise on Trump.

Duke wrote on the social media platform: “Thank you President Trump for your honesty and courage to tell the truth about Charlottesville and condemn the leftist terrorists in BLM/Antifa”.

“By saying he is not taking sides, Donald Trump clearly is. When David Duke and white supremacists cheer, you’re doing it very very wrong.”

Chuck Schumer, Democrat senator

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POLL QUESTION

LePage echoes Trump in blaming ‘both sides’ for Virginia violence

Do you agree with LePage that both the white supremacists and counter-protesters are responsible for last weekend’s violence in Charlottesville?

After remaining largely silent on the past weekend’s violence in Virginia, Gov. Paul LePage erupted Thursday on the radio, echoing President Donald Trump’s reaction to the Charlottesville conflict, assigning equal blame to white supremacists and counter-protesters who showed up to oppose a rally against removing a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

LePage said he “condemns both sides” of the uprising, adding they are “disgusting” and that “there’s no place for either of those groups in this country.”

 

On Wednesday, in the wake of Ku Klux Klan fliers reportedly being found in Boothbay Harbor, Bartlett said in a written statement that “actions like these are the direct result of leaders like Donald Trump, Paul LePage and Mary Mayhew who only embolden white supremacists by refusing to stand up and condemn their hateful actions and rhetoric.

“I would tell you right away how I would react,” LePage said. “All guns ahead, boys. Take them out … my first advice to the Maine people is don’t gather in these large crowds. It’s not safe…  If you choose to go in and battle, I will not be timid.”

LePage has faced criticism for what some have called racially charged comments at several times during his tenure. In January 2016, he unleashed a firestorm when he used racial terms to describe Maine’s drug problem, saying that drug traffickers from Connecticut and New York come to Maine and impregnate girls who are “young” and “white” before leaving the state. In August 2016, he used similar framing when he made comments about black and Hispanic people coming to Maine to sell drugs.

LePage’s take on opposition to removing Confederate statues also mirrored Trump, who made a “slippery slope” argument that removing statues of Confederate leaders like Lee would result in a call for the removal of monuments to Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, because they owned slaves.

Let’s take down the statues of Washington (slave owner, war profiteer, horrid general) and Jefferson (slave owner, slave raper, war profiteer.)

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US President Donald Trump has denounced the removal of “beautiful” Confederate statues amid a heated national debate about US race relations.

“Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments,” he tweeted.

Mr Trump was criticised for blaming both sides for the violence, but belatedly condemned the white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups on Monday.

During a heated news conference on Tuesday he backtracked and again blamed left-wing counter-protesters for the incident, too.

“Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson – who’s next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish!” Mr Trump continued in a series of tweets on Thursday.  “The beauty that is being taken out of our cities, towns and parks will be greatly missed and never able to be comparably replaced!”

Relatives of Stonewall Jackson, a Confederate leader Mr Trump mentioned in his Thursday tweets, wrote an open letter to the mayor of Richmond, Virginia, urging him to remove the statue of their great-great-grandfather and all other Confederate statues in town.  “While we are not ashamed of our great-great-grandfather, we are ashamed to benefit from white supremacy while our black family and friends suffer,” the pair wrote. “We are ashamed of the monument.”

Robert E Lee V, the great-great-grandson of the famous Confederate general, issued a statement condemning the violence in the wake of the statue removals.

“While the debate about how we memorialize figures from our past continues, we the descendants of Robert E Lee decry in the strongest terms the misuse of his memory by those advancing a message of intolerance and hate,” he said in a statement to the BBC.  “He never would have tolerated the hateful words and violent actions of white supremacists, the KKK, or Neo-Nazis.”

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Thousands March Against Hate in Charlottesville, Philadelphia and BerlinThousands March Against Hate in Charlottesville, Philadelphia, Freeport, USA and Berlin

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On Wednesday night, hundreds of people gathered for a candlelight vigil on the University of Virginia campus to call for peace, later marching on the same route used by hundreds of neo-Nazis and white nationalists in their torchlight march last Friday. In Philadelphia, thousands of demonstrators marched against last weekend’s violence in a rally dubbed “Philly is Charlottesville.” And in Berlin, Germany, hundreds gathered at the Brandenburg Gate to protest against neo-Nazi groups. This is one of the demonstrators.

Jason, protester: “I am here because I am against Nazis. My grandfather fought against Nazis in the Second World War, and I think it is a disgrace that Donald Trump is not against Nazis.”

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