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LAST_UPDATEFri, 27 Oct 2017 9am

Suspect Charged With Murder After Car Hits Protesters At 'Nazi' Rally; Trump Urged To Denounce 'Terror Attack'

Police have charged a 20-year-old man with second-degree murder after a car was driven into a crowd protesting against a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The Charlottesville Police Department said in a statement that James Alex Fields Jr, from Ohio, also faced three counts of malicious wounding, and one count related to leaving the scene.

A 32-year-old woman was killed when Fields allegedly drove his car into a crowd of anti-racist protesters during unrest in the college town, around two hours' drive south-west of Washington DC. Other demonstrators were left fighting for their lives.

The Justice Department said the FBI had opened a civil rights investigation into the alleged car attack.

Three other men — two aged 21 and the third aged 44 — were arrested in connection with the clashes and charged with offences including disorderly conduct, assault and battery and carrying a concealed firearm.

The state's governor blamed "white supremacists and Nazis" for sparking the violence, which saw rival groups clash after far-right protesters converged to demonstrate against a plan to remove a statue of Confederate general Robert E Lee.

Videos posted online showed white supremacist marchers shouting slogans including "Heil Trump", "blood and soil" and giving Nazi salutes as they walked past opposition demonstrators burning Confederate flags.

Samantha Bloom, who said she was Fields' mother, said he told her in a text message last week that he had taken time off from work to go to a rally.

Ms Bloom, who became upset when hearing about what her son is accused of doing, told reporters he did not give her any details about the rally but that she told him "to be careful" and to be peaceful.
Two police officers, Lieutenant H Jay Cullen and Trooper-pilot Berke MM Bates, died in a helicopter crash while helping to monitor the rally. It was not clear what caused the helicopter to come down, although Virginia State Police said there is no indication of foul play being a factor.
The car collision left 19 people injured, while city officials said 35 people involved in the clashes were treated by medics.

Trump under fire for criticising violence 'on many sides'
Media player: "Space" to play, "M" to mute, "left" and "right" to seek.

US President Donald Trump came under fire for his response to the events, in which he said he condemned "in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides."

The President tweeted his condolences to the family of the woman killed by the car and the policemen killed in the helicopter crash and his best regards to those injured.
But he ignored reporters who asked whether he had spoken out strongly enough against white nationalists.

Republican congressmen were among those criticising Mr Trump for not singling out the white supremacists for condemnation.

Republican senator Marco Rubio tweeted: "Very important for the nation to hear POTUS describe events in #Charlottesville for what they are, a terror attack by #whitesupremacists."

Why is Trump in the firing line?

The US President has been called out for failing to condemn white supremacists following a deadly protest in Virginia.

Ted Cruz, another Republican, urged the Department of Justice to "to immediately investigate and prosecute this grotesque act of domestic terrorism".

"The Nazis, the KKK, and white supremacists are repulsive and evil, and all of us have a moral obligation to speak out against the lies, bigotry, anti-Semitism, and hatred that they propagate," he said.

Charlottesville's Mayor Michael Signer blamed Mr Trump's political rhetoric during the election campaign for inflaming racial prejudices.

"I place the blame for a lot of what you're seeing in American today right at the doorstep of the White House and the people around the President."

Media player: "Space" to play, "M" to mute, "left" and "right" to seek. Democratic Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, who had earlier declared a state of emergency, called the far-right demonstrators "Nazis".

"I have a message to all the white supremacists and the Nazis who came into Charlottesville today. Our message is plain and simple: go home," Mr McAuliffe told a news conference.

"Shame on you."

Prominent former Ku Klux Klan leader Dr David Duke replied to Mr Trump's tweets about the attack, saying he should "take a good look in the mirror & remember it was White Americans who put you in the presidency, not radical leftists".
A large white man pulls a 'black lives matter' sign away from a black man.
The violence began on Friday night, when hundreds of white marchers with blazing torches appeared at a University of Virginia campus for a display critics said was reminiscent of a Ku Klux Klan rally.

Fighting broke out on Saturday in the city's downtown, when hundreds of people, some wearing white nationalist symbols and carrying Confederate battle flags and riot shields, were confronted by a nearly equal number of counter-protesters.

"You will not erase us," chanted a crowd of white nationalists, while counter-protesters carried placards that read: "Nazis go home" and "Smash white supremacy".

- Abc.net