UPDATE: The governor of Virginia has declared a state of emergency after violent clashes broke out Saturday morning between participants in a “Unite the Right” white nationalist rally in Virginia and counter-demonstrators, according to news reports and a Twitter announcement from the governor’s office.
Governor McAuliffe has declared a state of emergency to aid state response to violence at Alt-Right rally in Charlottesville
— Terry McAuliffe (@GovernorVA) August 12, 2017
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has put the National Guard on standby in anticipation of violence at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, ABC News reported Friday.
The “Unite the Right” rally, which is scheduled to take place Saturday, is purportedly to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a public park. However, events that transpired Friday night indicated that the rally has very little to do with the right, or with the statue — and everything to do with neo-Nazi theater.
In a pre-rally march through the University of Virginia’s campus, more than 100 tiki-torch wielding white nationalists chanted phrases like “white lives matter” and the neo-Nazi slogan “blood and soil,” according to WTVR-TV and ABC News.
And, where there are neo-Nazi idiots, violent protesters on the left predictably follow; several outbreaks of violence were reported by The Washington Post‘s Joe Haim. The march was eventually broken up by police after they concluded that the protest march was an unlawful assembly.
On Friday, Gov. McAuliffe said he was calling out the Virginia National Guard to make sure order and peace was preserved.
Below is Governor McAuliffe’s statement on the planned rally in Charlottesville, VA on Saturday, August 12th: pic.twitter.com/0TbGoCEP3w
— Terry McAuliffe (@GovernorVA) August 11, 2017
“Virginia State Police is leading the Commonwealth’s planning and response for these events and will be on the scene in a support capacity before, during and after the planned rally. At my direction, personnel from the Virginia National Guard are also standing by to respond if needed,” McAuliffe said.
“Virginia is the birthplace of the rights to freedom of speech and peaceful assembly that make our country great,” the governor added. “However, in advance of tomorrow’s rally, there have been communications from extremist groups, many of which are located outside of Virginia, who may seek to commit acts of violence against rally participants or law enforcement officials.”
He also urged potential demonstrators to stay away.
“Many of the individuals coming to Charlottesville tomorrow are doing so in order to express viewpoints many people, including me, find abhorrent,” he said. “As long as that expression is peaceful, that is their right. But it is also the right of every American to deny those ideas more attention than they deserve.”
This may be the one and only time an opportunistic Democrat like McAuliffe gets props in these pages. While the removal of Confederate statues and monuments is a silly erasure of history for the purposes of leftist virtue-signaling, it’s clear that Saturday’s protest has very little to do with that.
And while neo-Nazis and white collectivist thugs have every right to be heard and assemble peaceably — a fact which both McAuliffe and the courts have reaffirmed — precautions need to be taken to make sure things stay peaceable.
There’s every reason to believe that this could turn bad. We’ve seen what’s happened when antifa and sundry other groups of leftist hooligans have descended upon events like this — especially out in Berkeley, where people have been smashed over the head with bike locks simply for their opinions. It’s also worth pointing out that the organizer of the rally, white nationalist blogger Jason Kessler, is hardly blameless himself: this May, he was sentenced on a misdemeanor assault charge after he punched a man who criticized a petition he was attempting to get signatures for. Classy.
If it takes the Virginia National Guard to ensure that this protest stays peaceful, then — for once — Gov. McAuliffe has made the right call.
That said, I wonder whether he would have the courage and foresight to do this were the cause and violent organizations associated with it related with the left. I think we can all take a good guess at that one.
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