Charlottesville Rally Organizer Booed, Pushed While Attempting to Hold Presser
A crowd of protesters chanted "Shame!" at Jason Kessler until he eventually abandoned his Sunday press conference.
The man who organized a rally in Charlottesville, Va., that sparked violent clashes between white supremacist groups and counter-protesters tried to hold a news conference a day after the deadly event, but a crowd of several hundred booed him and forced him away from the lectern.
Jason Kessler is a blogger based in Charlottesville, and as he came out to speak Sunday afternoon near City Hall, he was surrounded by cameras and people.
Some people chanted and made noises with drums and other instruments. Among the chants: "You're wearing the wrong hood," a reference to the Ku Klux Klan.
Kessler mimicked looking at his watch and indicated he'd wait to speak as the crowd chanted "Shame!"
Crowd screams "shame" at Jason Kessler as he arrives. And chanting "murderer" pic.twitter.com/wCr5KdFePM— Henry Graff (@HenryGraff) August 13, 2017
A few people approached, crossing the line of TV cameras.
One man pushed Kessler. A woman tackled him.
Video posted to social media shows protesters yelling "We hate you!" and then in mass, continuing to chant, "Shame! Shame! Shame!"
Kessler asked state troopers on the scene for help. Eventually they escorted him off. State police say troopers approached the area as the crowd got aggressive but made no arrests.
Earlier in a statement announcing the press conference, Kessler said Saturday's events were "primarily the result of the Charlottesville government officials and the law enforcement officers which failed to maintain law and order by protecting the First Amendment rights of the participants of the 'Unite the Right' rally."
On Saturday, a car rammed into a crowd of protesters and, separately, a state police helicopter crashed into the woods during the white supremacist rally. The violent day left three dead, including 32-year-old Heather Heyer, who was killed while crossing the street, and dozens injured.
Later on Sunday, Kessler took to his Twitter account to say "the first amendment is finished it seems."
I tried my best but once again violence rules over speech and ideas in #Charlottesville. The first amendment is finished it seems.— Jason Kessler (@TheMadDimension) August 13, 2017
Aug. 13, 2 p.m.: Updated with Kessler's tweet.