USA – Charlottesville : neo-Nazis and white supremacists violently protesting

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White nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" clash with counter-protesters as they enter Lee Park during the "Unite the Right" rally August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia.

when a dozen Right-wing extremist groups descended on Charlottesville, Virginia, over this weekend, members of the National Socialist Movement were among them, proudly displaying their swastika armbands and flags.

Despite a relative absence from US history books, Nazis have deep roots in some parts of the country, and their efforts to alter the legal system against minorities once inspired Adolf Hitler.

A 32-year-old woman was killed and dozens of others injured amid violent clashes between white supremacists and anti-fascists ahead of a rally protesting against the removal of a statue to a Confederate general in Charlottesville, Virginia.

A police helicopter also crashed, killing two people, with officials saying this was connected to the events on the ground, although it was unclear in what way.

A state of emergency was announced by the local and state governments with police declaring the “Unite the Right” rally an unlawful assembly and ordering the crowds to disperse.

The state police were deployed, with riot police and the National Guard waiting in the wings.

Some of the far-right group members were seen carrying assault rifles and wearing paramilitary clothing, while others had large shields, helmets and gas masks in apparent anticipation of violence ahead of the demonstration against plans to take down the statue to General Robert E Lee from a local park.

The weekend’s nationalist protesters hail from a long line of homegrown Nazis, some of whom set up a network of pro-Hitler youth camps during American Nazism’s heyday.

In addition to Nazi communities planting themselves in numerous states, other white supremacist groups, including the Silver Shirts and Friends of Progress, helped make Nazi ideology more prominent than ever during the 1930s.

Long before Nazis set up shop in Yaphank, Long Island, their race-oriented predecessors helped turn American immigration law into an instrument of discrimination.

To establish a restrictive entry system for Germany was a matter of course to Hitler, and his 1925 memoir was filled with admiration for America.

“The American Union categorically refuses the immigration of physically unhealthy elements, and simply excludes the immigration of certain races,” wrote Hitler in “Mein Kampf.”

Particularly in the American south — former bastion of slavery — local measures against “colored” citizens were seen by the Nazis as a productive first step toward establishing Aryan supremacy. American jurisprudence with regard to racial “mixing” was also scrutinized, wrote James Q. Whitman in his book, “Hitler’s American Model,” published earlier this year.

Contrary to myth, wrote Whitman, Hitler was not interested in what came to be known as Jim Crow-style segregation in the south. German society was already “mixed” by American standards, and the Nazis were more interested in how the US created “second-class citizenship” for minority groups, said Whitman.

Mr Trump put out a tweet condemning “violence” and “hate” – although he did not specify that he was talking about the white supremacists, attracting criticism on Twitter.

He later blamed hatred “on many sides” for the violence, prompting a furious backlash from some leading Republicans.

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