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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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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