Five years after deadly far-right rally, US city of Charlottesville is still traumatised

It was a tragic day that became a symbol of the rise of the far right in the US during the presidency of Donald Trump. On August 12, 2017, during a rally by White supremacists in the city of Charlottesville, Virginia, a young neo-Nazi sympathiser rammed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters. One young woman was killed and dozens of other people were injured. Five years on, FRANCE 24's reporters Fanny Allard and Matthieu Mabin returned to Charlottesville to meet residents.

On August 12, 2017, Charlottesville, a liberal college town in the US state of Virginia, became the scene of a protest by White supremacists, including members of the Ku Klux Klan. The rally had been called to oppose the city's decision to take down a statue of Robert E. Lee, the Confederate general during the American Civil War. It was authorised by a judge in the name of freedom of speech.

Counter-demonstrators made up of local residents, students and anti-racist groups also took to the streets, angered by footage of a torchlight parade by the White supremacists from the previous evening. Clashes broke out between the two groups, culminating in tragedy when neo-Nazi sympathiser James Fields rammed his car into the crowd of counter-protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring 35 others.

Five years on, our reporters returned to Charlottesville, a city still deeply affected by the events of that fateful day.


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