Home News US News The Charlottesville Riot – When does a protest go too far?

The Charlottesville Riot – When does a protest go too far?


You may have tuned into the news recently and not noticed anything from the mainstream. But taking to Twitter and online media bases, there has been a “protest”. Now, looking at the images and the media circulating right now, you simply cannot call this a protest. Not because it was a hatefully charged march, but because after fifteen minutes it ended in violence.

So what actually led the protest to violence? Surely there’s a reason a protest got violent very quickly. Well, yes, sort of. There was a small counter-protest group at the Thomas Jefferson statue. Peacefully protesting is not a problem, but when you start pepper spraying a small group of peaceful protesters, something must be wrong.

Still. let’s break it down and try and make sense of this. Maybe there’s some logical reason for why these protesters began attacking.

What exactly happened

According to various news sources, a few hundred far-right wing protesters took to the University of Virginia campus. They were wielding torches and found a small group of counter protesters linking arms around a Thomas Jeffeson statue. After a brief verbal confrontation, the far-right protesters attacked those at the statue with the torches, pepper spray and lighter fluid.

There is literally no reason to assault someone during a protest. It doesn’t matter which wing of politics you’re on, assaulting at a protest is not acceptable. But it seems this protest was simply built on assault and attacks. We’ll explain more as to why this attack was built on protest later, mainly because it’s down to the reasoning of the protest.

Still, aside from that, it should be pretty clear this was a violent protest from the start. There was fifteen to twenty minutes of peaceful protest, quickly followed by the assault of a small number of counter-protesters and reporters.

Reason for protest

Let me preface this section with this. Whatever you are protesting in America, you have every right to. It is your right under freedom of speech to protest and your message can be whatever you want. However, freedom of speech does not correlate to freedom of consequence or action. These protesters had every right to a peaceful protest, but have given that up when it became violent.

People getting angry or upset by this protest have every right to, not only because it was a clearly hate fuelled one. See, protesting for your message is fine, but you cannot expect everyone to not care when things get violent. Especially when there’s pretty much no reason to be violent.

As far as I, the general public and the news are aware the reason it got violent was because a small group of peaceful counter-protesters were surrounding a statue. They weren’t in the way, they were simply standing their ground for their own free speech. There is nothing wrong with that. What is wrong though is that these people were attacked simply for standing up for themselves.

The message

Surely there must be a message behind the madness though, right? Well, the group were reportedly chanting such lovely slogans as “You will not replace us” and “Blood and soil”. I do love nationalistic pride, because this is the result. People so proud of their country they are literally taking to the streets in droves and making sure nobody else can get in.

Look, immigration isn’t bad when it’s controlled, and that’s the general understanding you need to have. In Britain our NHS largely consists of immigrants, mainly because “run it under a cold tap” does not constitute as medical advice. See, there’s a big scale fear of multiculturalism currently seen in the US, and this protest is a good example as of why that is.

If it weren’t for multiculturalism, then the world we live in today would be a very different place. Sure, you could argue that a small portion of that would be a change for the worse, but lets face it, multiculturalism has worked and is still working. English people living in America? That is multiculturalism. Multiculturalism does not fail when you want it to fail, if it weren’t for it, we would not be able to pick and choose a part of the world to live in.

Police response

CC. Getty Images – Andalou Agency

What police response? There wasn’t one until it was pretty much too late. There’s been heavy criticism for how the police have responded to this protest, compared to the riot gear response of a Black Lives Matter protest. I mean, look at the image above of all of those people with torches and tell me you wouldn’t feel slightly threatened by them if they began marching towards you.

See, it comes down to the fact that the people these alt-right rioters attacked were not provocative. Those that were attacked have given statements to the press. One such statement read as follows.

“someone from the alt right maced me in the face – unprovoked.”

“after they maced people they started punching people and hitting them with torches.”

According to a number of protesters, a woman using a wheelchair was among those that were sprayed with mace. There was also a church service in progress, by the time it had ended the alt-right rioters had begun walking past the church.

What can we learn from this

What can we learn from this is a very good question. Mainly because there is nothing we can actually learn from this. What is there to learn? Some alt right nuts decided to facade themselves as a knock off version of the KKK. They’re like that group fromĀ Django Unchained (2012) who struggle with their white hoods and end up making the eye holes too big.

That’s what I like to think when I see this crowd of nutters. They’re nothing more than that. They are genuine despicable scum that should absolutely be held accountable for what they have done. See, this wouldn’t have made much of an impact if they hadn’t carried tiki torches with them and assaulted a small group of peaceful counter-protesters.

Undoubtedly, there will be a small minority of people within that group who did nothing wrong. Although, looking at them, everyone there from the outset looked set on spreading some pretty hateful shit. What do you expect from a rally called “Unite the Right”.

Sarcastic. Pessimist. I write what I think, hopefully you enjoy that.