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USA: Politicians and public pressure Trump to condemn white racists behind Saturday's deadly violence

14.8.2017 15:21
Fans of the
Fans of the "alternative right" celebrating in Washington, D.C. in November 2016 at a conference after Donald Trump was elected President of the United States. (PHOTO: Still from a video posted online by The Atlantic)

The Associated Press reports that two days after the violence sparked by a rally of white racists in Charlottesville, Virginia, US President Donald Trump is facing strong pressure to condemn the actions of the radical groups that lead to the death of a young woman and the injury of many others. Trump's statement on the violence has just been general and he has demonstrated a cautious approach toward criticizing radical "white nationalists" in the past, leading him to be accused of bias against various ethnic groups.

The university town in Virginia became the site of the most violent displays of racism in the United States in a very long time. Hundreds of white racists and neo-Nazis marched through the center of town shouting racist slogans, many giving the Nazi salute or visibly wearing Nazi symbols.

When a group of local residents came together to demonstrate their resistance to neo-Nazi or racist ideologies, clashes occurred between them and the extremists. The most tragic moment happened when one of the white radicals drove a car into a group of peacefully protesting people and, according to eyewitnesses, broke through the crowd with his foot on the gas pedal.

The driver killed a 32-year-old woman and injured 19 people. Trump's initial commentary condemned the violence which, according to him, originated "on many sides, on many sides".

After the first wave of criticism of that response, the White House stated on Sunday that the President's condemnation "also includes white racists, the KKK, neo-Nazis and all extremist groups", but Trump himself, unlike US Vice President Mike Pence, has still avoided specifically mentioning the advocates of "white supremacy".  Pressure on Trump is coming not just from traditional advocates of the civil rights of members of ethnic minorities, who come from the ranks of the opposition Democratic Party or civic groups, but also from members of his own Republican Party.

"The President should clearly speak out and say what is going on. This is evil. This is white nationalism," said Colorado Senator Cory Gardner (Republican) yesterday, expressing the opinion of a group of Republican legislators.

The Associated Press reports that this is not the first time Trump has been accused of favoring white radicals and their views, as during his business career in real estate he was known for not wanting to lease apartment units in his buildings to African-American tenants. Trump was for many years a loud advocate of the untrue allegation that Barack Obama, who became the first black President in 2004, was not born on US territory.

During last year's election campaign Trump called Mexican immigrants criminals and has also come forward with the idea of banning Muslims from entering the USA. New findings presented by the American media attest to the racial motivation behind last weekend's events in Charlottesville, which were convened to protest the removal of Confederate symbols from public spaces.

The FBI is now investigating whether the driver of the car, James Alex Fields, may have committed terrorism. For the time being the 20-year-old man, who will testify in court for the first time today, has been charged with murder in addition to other crimes.

According to CNN sources, investigators have evidence that Fields planned his action to send a "message" to society, which would attest to his racial motivation. A former teacher of his told CNN that as a high school student Fields had taken a great interest in Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany and that his attitude on racial issues was "deeply engrained and radical".

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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