A Bucks County group held an emergency solidarity gathering Saturday night in response to violent clashes at a white nationalist rally in a Virginia college town that left at least one person dead and dozens injured.
A car plowed into a crowd of people who were protesting what is believed to be the largest gathering of white nationalists in a decade in Charlottesville, Virginia Saturday afternoon. At least one person was killed while 26 others were injured. The suspected driver was taken into custody and charged with murder. Two state troopers who were responding to the rally were also killed after their helicopter crashed.
The incident occurred after a white nationalist group gathered to protest plans to remove a statue of Confederate Civil War General Robert E. Lee while other groups arrived for a counter-protest. The car crash was one of several violent incidents during the rally which prompted the Governor of Virginia to declare a state of emergency as police in riot gear ordered people to disperse.
In response to the violence, the Bucks County, Pennsylvania group Rise Up Doylestown organized a candlelight vigil that took place on State and Main streets in Doylestown at 7 p.m. with the purpose of taking a “stand against the white supremacy, violence and hatred taking place in Charlottesville, Virginia this weekend by white supremacist Neo Nazis.”
Organizers for Rise Up Doylestown say they’re particularly sensitive to Saturday’s violence in Virginia in the wake of recent racially charged incidents in their own community. In February, Ku Klux Klan flyers were left on doorsteps of Doylestown homes. The group also reported vandalism to “Hate Has No Home Here” signs that were put up in yards throughout the neighborhood.
“We have to do something,” said Marlene Pray, the organizer of the event. “We have to say that Doylestown is in solidarity with the community of Charlottesville in standing up for love and peace and anti-racism.”
Pray told NBC10 some members of Rise Up Doylestown traveled to counter-protest the white nationalist group in Virginia.
"When I said goodbye to one of the guys I knew that was going, I put my hands on his shoulders and said, 'Please be safe,'" she said.
In Philadelphia, another vigil in response to the Charlottesville violence was held Saturday night at city hall at 7 p.m.