On Friday, hundreds of members of the "alt-right" and groups like the Ku Klux Klan marched around the University of Virginia campus carrying torches and chanting white supremacist phrases. The demonstration was apparently meant to lead up to a Saturday "Unite the Right" rally at Emancipation Park in Charlottesville. U.S. District Judge Glen Conrad ruled in favor of the event on Friday.
Clashes between marchers and counter-protesters reportedly turned violent on Friday, with "Unite the Right" supporters encircling and attacking a group of protesters who'd surrounded a statue of Thomas Jefferson by swinging torches and spraying lighter fluid and pepper spray. Fights also broke out among the crowds.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe released a statement on Saturday urging his constituents to stay away from the planned rally. He revealed that the state police, the National Guard, the Department of Emergency Management, and public safety officials from his cabinet would be on standby in preparation for Saturday's event. The governor additionally defended the rights of those planning to demonstrate, despite how "abhorrent" others, including himself, may find their views.
Videos and images of the Friday night situation at the University of Virginia campus quickly spread on social media, making the "Unite the Right" rally one of the most-discussed topics online on Saturday morning. Here is how some reacted to the news of the rally.
1.Will President Trump Speak?
If you're asking "where's Trump's condemnation of the UVA Nazis?" it's right there next to his condemnation of the Minnesota mosque bombing— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) August 12, 2017
Despite his frequent use of Twitter, the president had notably not said anything about Friday's events by Saturday morning.
Dear Fox News/GOP/Trump: these are the real terrorists in America. Not Muslims. Not BLM. It's your kids. pic.twitter.com/crl1TvhCDt— Travon Free (@Travon) August 12, 2017
Many wondered how conservative media would present the Unite the Right rally in comparison to Black Lives Matter demonstrations.
3. Worth Wondering About
Imagine if these people ever faced actual oppression. pic.twitter.com/dhPCbtfEjO— Large Adult Goat (@JuliusGoat) August 12, 2017
Exactly what disadvantages the crowd pictured above feels it faces is one worth asking.
4. Police Reaction Is Telling
Despite witnessing violence against counter-protesters, law enforcement officials have taken little to no physical force against those perpetrating it.
5. What An Image...
This officer must have a lot to say.
6. Worth Mentioning
President Trump's silence multiplies the awfulness of this endorsement.
7. They're Right
White men in this country are enabled to be dangerous and violent. Why do so many of us refuse to admit this?#Charlottesville— Charles Clymer🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) August 12, 2017
Hard to refute.
8. He Really Needs To Say Something
President Trump's silence as #Charlottesville roils with racist and fascist provocatation is shameful, irresponsible...and, DEFINING.— Sen. Patrick Leahy (@SenatorLeahy) August 12, 2017
Members of Congress can't help but be disgusted too.
First season of HBO's Confederate currently being shot on the campus of The University of Virginia.— Broderick Greer (@BroderickGreer) August 12, 2017
Maybe now HBO will understand the outrage behind Confederate.
10. Can't Deny The Difference
But we only had cell phones and they called us violent. https://t.co/ya8aPHIJFU— deray mckesson (@deray) August 12, 2017
When compared to the aggressive police response to protests in Ferguson following the shooting of Michael Brown, it's near impossible to deny that law enforcement treats racial minorities with more physical force than they do with whites.
11. Harming People Who Didn't Even Attend
All elective surgery cases including for people with cancer were cancelled at the huge UVA hospital today. Thanks KKK. #Charlottesville— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) August 12, 2017
12. No Shame
Nazism and the words of Adolf Hitler were openly embraced by many Unite the Right supporters.
13. Chilling Point
Nazi assholes have always been here. The question year-to-year is: "How comfortable do they feel revealing themselves?" Under Trump: *very*— Ken Tremendous (@KenTremendous) August 12, 2017
Friday and Saturday's events make this pretty clear.
14. Opposing Voices
A line of clergy stands along the entrance to the Unite the Right rally, chanting "Love has already won!" pic.twitter.com/0mv5DCLC29— Jack Smith IV (@JackSmithIV) August 12, 2017
Only bright side is those who showed up to oppose the hate.
15. Nope, This Is 2017
Saw the Nazi march at the University of Virginia of Unite the Right had to check & see if it was 1944.It's sad that people think like this. pic.twitter.com/g9bvsQWzEl— Kermanetherunner (@KermaneB) August 12, 2017
Hard to believe.
Hopefully more people feel this way than the opposite.
Whether the president or anyone in the administration will acknowledge Friday and Saturday's events remains to be seen.