Corey Long joined hundreds of counter protesters in Charlottesville to stand up against hate and white supremacists marching that day attending the ultra right-wing rally: “Unite the Right”. Fully intending to protest peacefully Long set out with his friend Deandre Harris to confront at the “Nazis who took over my town” says Long.
Violence and chaos later broke out at the rally- leaving one dead and many others injured- including Harris who was beaten severely and suffered from serious head injuries. Long also had to defend himself with a makeshift flame thrower when he was shot at by extremists. Long attributed the violence being allowed to get out of hand due to police officers turning a blind eye to protect the white supremacists as well as on lookers neglecting to help.
“The cops were not protecting the people of Charlottesville. They were protecting the outsiders.” (Photographers) just stood around recording everything. The fact that they didn’t help us . . . It was outrageous.””
As Jeff Farrell of The Independent writes:
But the 23-year-old said the scene quickly turned violent when one of the thousands of extremists who had taken to the streets fired a gun next to his feet – while police nearby failed to react.
Another extremist later lunged at Mr Long with a confederate flag and he fought back with a spray can he said he found on the ground, putting a lighter to the nozzle and turning it into a weapon.
The image of the counter-protester firing flames at the radical marchers went viral and is said to capture the horror of the protests that sparked clashes and left one woman dead.
Mr Long said: “I went out to voice my opinion. To have my freedom of speech. Just like the racist Nazis who took over my town.
“At first it was peaceful protest. Until someone pointed a gun at my head. Then the same person pointed it at my foot and shot the ground.”
But he claimed the police stood by and did nothing when the right-wing marchers turned violent against counter-protestors in clashes that left 19 injured.
“The cops were protecting the Nazis, instead of the people who live in the city,” Mr Long said. “The cops basically just stood in their line and looked at the chaos. The cops were not protecting the people of Charlottesville. They were protecting the outsiders.”
Mr Long said he and his friend Deandre Harris were forced to flee when scores of the right-wing protesters charged at them, and they ran for cover in a car parking area. “The white supremacists told us to ‘die nigger’ in the garage.”
He said he fought off his attackers with a stick and fled again but extremists continued to pursue the pair. “The Nazis tried to force their way into the stairway that we were hiding in. The fact was that they (photographers) just stood around recording everything. The fact that they didn’t help us . . . It was outrageous.”
In a now viral video, Mr Harris can be seen in the alleged incident being beaten and bloodied by white supremacists attending the rally- to which he claims he suffered serious injuries to his head. Below is an image taken from Harris’ GoFundme for which he is fundraising to pay for his medical bills incurred from his assault.
The violence erupted after thousands of extremists marched on the streets of Charlottesville on Saturday before demonstrators turned on counter protestors and lashed amid violent clashes.
“Pure hatred is what happened in Charlottesville,” Mr Long said. “The fact that anyone can hate someone because of their skin colour is ridiculous, but the fact that the President doesn’t speak on it is outrageous.”
Donald Trump was criticised for failing to explicitly condemn far-right groups for the violence waged by white supremacists in the Virginia city – only tweeting that he abhorred hatred “on many sides”.
But the US President caved in under pressure from critics including fellow Republicans, and in a brief statement in the White House, said: “Racism is evil, and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”
It is clear that law enforcement this day were complicit in the assaults of these men and those of others as they failed to react in a timely fashion (if at all) to the violence unfolding before them. Law enforcement standing down to allow for these types of rallies to occur legitimize the views of the alt-right and the racists that run in these circles. Other ultra right-wing rallies are scheduled in the coming weeks in several cities across the nation- and if other cities and their law enforcement do not learn from the events in Charlottesville, their cities could be the next ones in the headlines
Other ultra right-wing rallies are scheduled in the coming weeks in several cities across the nation and these cities and their law enforcement must learn from the events in Charlottesville to avoid violence in their communities.
(Article by Tasha Sharifa)