The scenes are depressingly familiar.
Men brandishing Confederate flags like weapons just inches away from protestors. It feels like only a split-second separates them from a full-on altercation. In the past, police have been able to pry them apart and defuse the situation, but in Charlottesville, Virginia, the police aren’t in the picture when the sides rush into each other in a swarm of clubs. There’s mace, pepper spray, and whoever finds themselves on the asphalt gets stomped.
In another video, a white nationalist smashes what looks like a board over the back of a fallen counter-protester.
In another, a woman gets punched in the face, darts forward to retaliate, but gets swallowed in the melee.
The footage cycles through all Saturday afternoon. Online videos show white supremacists marching in columns, carrying shields, guns, clubs, tire irons. Behind goggles and helmets, their eyes are peeled for altercations. They chant insults to “faggots” and “kikes.” Some carry the red, white, and black swastika flag of the National Socialist Party.
Then, someone on Twitter posts a stream from Periscope. They’re recording antifascists resting after a state of emergency has been declared and the march cleared out. There’s alarm off-screen as a ripple shudders through like a wave. A woman rises above and is thrown off the hood of a silver car that has just plowed through the crowd. The car slams into the back of another, pauses, and then races backward in reverse, leaving at least one person to die, another thirty-five injured, and a country to watch and wait with baited breath.
The first Trump rally I ever attended…
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