3 arrested during first Charlottesville council meeting since deadly clash
- Author: Megan Austin Aug 23, 2017,
Aug 23, 2017, 0:42
Leaders of Charlottesville on Monday night were confronted by protesters demanding answers about the city's aborted response to the recent, violent white supremacist rallies in the city which led to the death of Heather Heyer. News reported that the rally was not on the meeting's agenda, but was forced into discussion by constituents.
They also voted to drape the statues of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson in black to signify a city in mourning.
It took about a half-hour for order to be restored, and the meeting stretched for several hours, as speaker after speaker spoke about their anguish over what the community had experienced.
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At one point, the mayor, vice mayor and three council members fled and two people holding a sign that said "blood on your hands" jumped on the chamber's dais, NBC affiliate WVIR reported. The residents refused to cede control of the room until the authorities promised to release the residents who had been taken away and let people have their say. The council also made a decision to drape the statues "in recognition of the city's mourning", Charlottesville City Clerk Paige Rice said, as quoted by NBC News. The rally subsequently led to clashes with counter-protesters and culminated in a car-ramming attack that killed one person and injured 19 others.
The council meeting was stormed on Monday when almost 100 activists and residents crowded into the room, shouting "Shame" and "Shut it down" toward council members and the mayor, according to The New York Times. "Why did you think you can walk in here and do a business-as-usual meeting after what happened on the 12th?" asked one community activist. James Alex Field, 20, has been charged with her murder.