'Murderer! Terrorist! Nazi!': White Supremacist Rally Organizer Chased Away During Charlottesville Speech
Jason Kessler, the organiser of Saturday’s far-right rally in Charlottesville, was chased away by protesters in the city on Sunday afternoon after he tried to give a press conference.
He tried to hold a joint media appearance with the “alt-right” leader Richard Spencer in the city centre. The two had previously distanced themselves from James Fields, the accused killer of civil rights campaigner Heather Heyes, 32.
As soon as Kessler emerged in the forecourt of Charlottesville’s city hall, a crowd of more than 300 who had gathered along with the waiting media began shouting “murderer”, “terrorist” and “nazi”.
As he approached the cluster of media microphones, the crowd chanted “shame” in unison. At the microphones, Kessler became increasingly animated, but was inaudible.
After a few minutes, the crowd rushed the improvised podium. Kessler fled and made his escape with the protection of waiting state police in riot gear.
Behind the line of police, the crowd resumed chanting “Nazis go home”, and: “We are unstoppable, another world is possible.”
After about 15 minutes, when it was clear Kessler had left the downtown area, police and the crowd dispersed. In a nearby ice cream shop, Joe Montoya, a local resident who had been vociferous in the crowd, said he was glad the town had prevented Kessler from speaking. “This is what our town is like,” he said. “Charlottesville is a diverse place. We come together at times like this. Love wins.”
A vigil due to be held in the city on Sunday night in memory of Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old woman killed when a car ploughed into counter-demonstrators on Saturday, had to be cancelled after a “credible threat from white supremacists”.
Organisers Solidarity Cville said they could not guarantee the safety of those attending so instead local activists and clergy members would give their speeches through a Facebook live stream.
A spokesman for Solidarity Cville, Andy Stepanian, said it was “not limited to online threats, there were real world threats”.
A community remembrance event took place on 4th and Water streets, near the location where Heyer was killed.