Thousands attend anti-Trump, anti-racism rallies across US
Thousands of people across the US have taken part in protests against President Donald Trump and hate groups after white supremacists incited a bloody demonstration over the weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Anti-Trump protesters shouted “Shame!, Shame! Shame” and “No KKK, No Fascist USA, No Trump!” on Monday as they awaited the president to arrive at Trump Tower in New York City.
They also carried placards with anti-Trump slogans as they lined up across the street from the tower and the nearby blocks on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue.
Trump’s motorcade arrived at the tower shortly after 9 pm local time from a direction that bypassed the demonstrators.
It was the first time Trump had returned to Trump Tower since he became president. The skyscraper served as his main residence and office before he entered office.
Three people were arrested and charged with reckless engagement, obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest, said Hubert Reyes, a spokesman for the New York City Police Department (NYPD).
Thousands also gathered at two demonstrations in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Monday to condemn white supremacy and racism.
In Durham, North Carolina, protesters gathered at the Fayette County Courthouse around the Confederate Soldiers Monument and toppled the nearly century-old statue of John C. Breckinridge, the 14th vice president of the US and a civil war era slave owner.
The protests come two days after deadly clashes broke out Saturday in Charlottesville between white supremacists and counter-protester at the site of the “Unite the Right” event.
Heather Heyer, 32, was killed and some 20 others were injured when a 20-year-old Nazi sympathizer identified as James Alex Fields Jr plowed his car into a crowd taking part in the counter-protest.
About 100 protesters also gathered to denounce Trump and racism in the city of Maumee, a suburb of Toledo, Ohio, where Fields Jr was living before his arrest.
“The hatred has just been growing and these groups are crawling out of the sewer now,” Michael Bates, a Toledo resident and Vietnam War veteran, told CNN affiliate WTVG.
After taking a mild stance initially, Trump finally bowed to overwhelming pressure on Monday and condemned the white supremacists that incited the bloody demonstration in Charlottville.
“Racism is evil,” said Trump, delivering a statement from the White House at a hastily arranged appearance meant to halt the growing political threat posed by the unrest.
“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.”
Critics say that Trump’s divisive rhetoric and policies against immigrants and minorities before and after his election has emboldened far-right groups and promoted hate crimes across the country.