Jason Kessler's Press Conference After The "Unite The Right" Rally Was Blocked By A Group Of Protesters
A day after a white nationalist rally ended in violent and deadly clashes, counter-protesters stopped a press conference by the "Unite The Right" rally organizer from happening in Charlottesville, Virginia on Sunday. Jason Kessler, the man who organized "Unite The Right," was shouted down and chased off by a crowd of protesters Sunday shortly after he attempted to make a statement to the press.
Various video footage of the incident shows protesters loudly chanting "shame," "murderer, and "say her name" and using horns and other instruments to drown out Kessler's voice as he spoke. A few minutes into Kessler's press conference at least two protesters approached Kessler at the microphone where they appeared to shout at him while holding their hands behind their back. However, as more people began to swarm Kessler at the microphone the scene quickly became chaotic.
Mykal McEldowney, a photojournalist for the Indianapolis Star, reported on Twitter that Kessler managed to leave the area where the press conference was being held "with help from police."
According to CBS News' Matt Kwong, Kessler's press conference was shut down by protesters in under five minutes. "Kessler arrived at 1:59; departed the area in front of city hall by 2:03," Kwong tweeted.
On Twitter the BBC's Joel Gunter reported riot police escorted Kessler to the nearby police station and formed a "defensive line" around the station.
Before being shouted away from the microphone Kessler blamed Virginia police for failing to prevent Saturday's violent clashes between "Unite The Right" rally-goers and counter-protesters. "What happened yesterday was the result of the Charlottesville police officers refusing to do their job," Kessler said. "They stood down and did not follow through with the agreed upon security arrangements." Kessler also told reporters that the vocal protesters shouting over him was "the anti-white hate that fueled what happened yesterday."
He later told journalist and filmmaker Brook Silva-Braga that he felt yesterday's events were "tragic" but refrained from commenting on whether he thought he bore any responsibility. "I disavow any political violence and what happened yesterday was tragic," Kessler told Silva-Braga as he was being escorted away from his press conference.
A woman was killed and 19 other people were injured on Saturday in Charlottesville when a man allegedly in town to attend Kessler's "Unite The Right" rally drove a his car into a crowd of peaceful counter-protesters following a series of violent clashes between counter-protesters and white nationalist demonstrators.