The Diocese of Virginia (left)/AP (right)
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US Christians oppose racist rally

Christians have taken to the streets of Virginia to oppose a white supremacy rally in the US state on Saturday which turned violent.

A 32 year old woman died when a car ploughed into a crowd of people protesting against the gathering in Charlottesville. A 20 year old man has been charged with second-degree murder.

Church leaders in the state and further afield condemned the rally on Saturday which was protesting at plans to remove a statue of the Confederate general Robert E Lee. It was the largest meeting of white nationalists in a decade.

AP Photo/Steve Helber

 

Bishop of Southwestern Virginia Rt Rev Mark A Bourlakas said: "I strongly condemn the violence and hate currently taking place in Charlottesville.

"There is no place, whatsoever, for white supremacy or hate-filled rhetoric in the streets of Virginia or anywhere else in this country."

Events took a further tragic turn when a Virginia State Police helicopter flying above the rally crashed in a wooded area, claiming the lives of the pilot and a trooper.

 

The clashes were condemned by US President Donald Trump "in the strongest possible terms" who described an "egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides".

In opposition to the rally, the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia staged a peaceful demonstration and prayer event in the city's Emancipation Park.

In a joint statement realised beforehand, bishops from the diocese said: "We Bishops of the Diocese of Virginia stand together with the Charlottesville Clergy Collective (CCC), working in opposition to the so-called "Unite the Right" rally..."

AP Photo/Steve Helber

 

The governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe announced an emergency and police wearing riot gear were deployed to disperse crowds.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo from the US Catholic Church said "On behalf of the bishops of the United States, I join leaders from around the nation in condemning the violence and hatred that have now led to one death and multiple injuries..."

"We offer our prayers for the family and loved ones of the person who was killed and for all those who have been injured. We join our voices to all those calling for calm"

A federal civil rights investigation has been opened by the Department of Justice into the deadly car incident.



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