Chased from scene, ‘Unite the Right’ leader blames officials for Charlottesville violence

CBS News image of Kessler (right).

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP/CBS News) – The man who organized a rally in Charlottesville 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.

People fly into the air as a vehicle drives into a group of protesters demonstrating against a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, (Ryan M. Kelly/The Daily Progress via AP)

RELATED: Woman killed at Charlottesville nationalist rally identified

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.


In front of the media and protesters, Kessler blamed the Charlottesville Police Department for failing to keep the peace during the “Unite the Right” rally on Saturday. Kessler said officers failed to do their jobs.

As protesters spewed their disgust and other colorful language, the white nationalist declared it as “anti-white hate.” He told reporters that kind of vicious antagonism is what fueled the violence on Saturday.

As he spoke, a few people approached, crossing the line of TV cameras.

One man pushed Kessler. A woman tackled him.

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.

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