Cork council condemns killing of Charlottesville victim
It is important to let Heather Heyer’s family know they are not alone, says councillor
Charlottesville victim Heather Heyer was killed by a member of a right-wing grouping during a protest in Virginia last month. Photograph: Justin Ide/Reuters
Cork City Council has extended its sympathies to the family and friends of an anti-racism activist killed when she was mown down by a member of a right-wing grouping during a protest in Virginia last month.
The council backed a motion by Cllr Ted Tynan of the Workers’ Party condemning the killing of Heather Heyer by a white supremacist during protests against a Unite the Right rally of neo fascists and white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12th.
“Heather joined her neighbours and comrades in counter-protest against the largest gathering of fascists, Nazis and white supremacists in decades which took over her town of Charlottesville to spread hate, racism and anti-Semitism,” he said.
“That one of those fascists felt emboldened enough to drive his car at speed into a crowd shows that the fight against the rising threat of fascism is not over.”
Mr Tynan said it was important that the council let those fighting fascism know of their support. He said that the motion of sympathy would be conveyed to Charlottesville mayor Mike Signer and it was an important “symbol of both Cork’s sorrow and continued defiance against hateful policies”.
James Fields (20), from Maumee, is currently remanded in custody charged with the second-degree murder of Ms Heyer, three counts of malicious wounding of others at the counter-protest and failing to stop at an accident that resulted in a death.
Photographs taken earlier on August 12th appear to show Mr Fields rallying with white supremacist group Vanguard America and carrying a shield bearing the group’s insignia. He is seen wearing the white polo shirt and khaki pants that are the group’s uniform.
The group’s motto “blood and soil”, which is derived from the Nazi slogan “blut und boden”, was chanted at both the torchlight rally at the University of Virginia and the Unite the Right rally at which Ms Heyer was killed.
US president Donald Trump caused huge controversy when he refused to condemn the Unite the Right rally organised to protest at the removal of a statue of Civil War Confederate General Robert E Lee and suggested there was a moral equivalence between both protestors and counter-protestors.
“You had a group on one side and group on the other and they came at each other with clubs – there is another side, you can call them the left, that came violently attacking the other group. You had people that were very fine people on both sides,” he said.
“Not all those people were neo-Nazis, not all those people were white supremacists. Many of those people were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E Lee,” said Mr Trump at a press conference that prompted widespread condemnation across the United States.