Why white nationalists are flocking to Charlottesville

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It seemed Saturday Charlottesville turned into a hotbed of hate overnight, but racial tensions have long been building

It seemed Saturday that the typically sleepy town of Charlottesville turned into a hotbed of hate overnight, but racial tensions have long been building in the community.

Resident, Jason Kessler, who organized Saturday’s “Unite the Right” rally told CNN “the anti-white hatred coming out of the city” is what’s drawing protesters there.

why-white-nationalists-are-flocking-to-charlottesville photo 1 46 photos view gallery White supremacists and protesters clash following two-day rally in Charlottesville, Virginia

The college town was plunged into turmoil Friday night when torch-baring white supremacists proudly waving confederate flags marched through the University of Virginia. It escalated to violence Saturday as thousands descended on Charlottesville for the rally intended to protest the city’s decision to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from Emancipation Park, previously known as Lee Park.

Counter-protesters clashed with the scores of white nationalists, neo-confederates and alt-right activists, some of them carrying rifles, others decked out in combat gear. As the day progressed the violence intensified, with a silver Dodge Nissan tearing through a crowd of people marching against the pro-white rally.

why-white-nationalists-are-flocking-to-charlottesville photo 2

Rescue personnel help injured people after a car ran into a large group of protesters after an white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017. 

(Steve Helber/AP)

While it’s usually regarded as a liberal town as well as the home of President Thomas Jefferson, undercurrents of racism have strengthened over the last several months there.

Charlottesville’s City Council in April voted to rid Emancipation Park of Lee’s statue — a decision that angered white nationalist, who held a similar demonstration, complete with torches, around the monument in May. And last month a Ku Klux Klan rally drew members to the city for a rally near Lt. Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson’s statue.

The Southern Poverty Law Center said Saturday’s rally could be “the largest hate-gathering of it’s kind in decades in the United States.”

But why Charlottesville? It’s just one of many cities receiving pushback for its efforts to remove Confederate symbols from public areas, with supremacists decrying such moves as a bid to wipe out important Southern history.

why-white-nationalists-are-flocking-to-charlottesville photo 3 16 photos view gallery Protesters injured as a car purposefully mows down the crowd following 'Unite the Right' rally

“The entire community is a very left community that has absorbed these cultural Marxist principles advocated in college towns across the country, about blaming white people for everything,” Kessler said.

He also promised to hold “bigger and bigger” events in Charlotte.

why-white-nationalists-are-flocking-to-charlottesville photo 4

White nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" clash with counter-protesters as they enter Lee Park during the "Unite the Right" rally August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. 

(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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Article Why white nationalists are flocking to Charlottesville compiled by www.nydailynews.com

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