'She died doing what was right': Victim in Charlottesville rally identified

 

The woman killed protesting against a white nationalist rally in the US has been identified as 32-year-old Heather Heyer.

Ms Heyer was fatally hit by a car during a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, when shield-carrying white nationalists and Nazis clashed with anti-fascists.

Her mother, whose name is yet to be publicised, said her heart was broken when she found out Ms Heyer had been killed.

“She died doing what was right,” she posted on a GoFundMe page to raise money for the Heyer family.

Ms Heyer has been identified as the woman killed by a car which ploughed through a crowd. Source: Facebook

“My heart is broken, but I am forever proud of her.”

Ms Heyer was part of the counter protest group, which was hit by a car allegedly driven by Ohio man James Alex Fields Jr.

She used social media to take a stand against racism and social injustice.

“If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention,” the cover photo on her Facebook account reads, which has now been shared more than 900 times.

A car ploughed into a crowd of nationalists and counter demonstrators in Virginia. Photo: AP

She was outspoken about her beliefs and discouraged Islamaphobia by sharing videos.

Her Facebook profile has been flooded with tributes for her and her stance against racism, as well as some trolls.

“RIP sweet young lady. You are the symbol of peace and love. We will never forget,” one user commented.

“RIP Heather thank you for resisting cruel prejudices and racist hate... Your light will not be forgotten. Sincere condolences to the Heyer family,” another user posted.

The car that allegedly ploughed through a crowd of protestors marching through downtown Charlottesville, Virginia and James Alex Fields Jr (inset). Picture: Getty/Charlottesville Police

Nineteen other people were injured, five critically, from the car allegedly driven by Mr Fields, while three others were arrested.

Mr Fields’ mother said she was aware her son was going to a rally but she did not know the reason why he was attending, but told him to "be careful and peaceful".

The New York Daily News published a photo said to show Mr Fields standing with the white nationalists holding a shield bearing a fascist emblem.

Police have not yet provided a motive for the incident but U S attorneys and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have opened a civil rights investigation into the crash, an FBI field office said.

Federal authorities were also looking into a helicopter crash on Saturday that killed two Virginia state policemen aiding efforts to quell the clashes.

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, declared an emergency and halted the white nationalist rally planned for Saturday but that did not stop the violence.

Ms Heyer used social media to campaign against social injustice. Source: Facebook

About 15 people were injured after rival groups fought pitched battles using fists, rocks and pepper spray.

"Please go home and never come back," was Mr McAuliffe's message for the white supremacists, delivered at a news conference.

"There is no place for you here, there is no place for you in America," he said.

President Trump said "many sides" were involved in the Charlottesville incidents, remarks that drew fire from across the political spectrum for not specifically denouncing white nationalists.

"We condemn, in the strongest possible terms, this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides," Trump told reporters at his New Jersey golf course on Saturday.

The planned rally stemmed from a long debate in the U.S. South over the Confederate battle flag and other symbols of the rebel side in the Civil War, which was fought over slavery.

The Charlottesville violence is the latest clash between far-rightists, some of whom have claimed allegiance to Trump, and the president's opponents since his January inauguration, when black-clad anti-Trump protesters in Washington smashed windows, torched cars and clashed with police, leading to more than 200 arrests.

About two dozen people were arrested in Charlottesville in July when the Ku Klux Klan rallied against the plan to remove the Lee statue. Torch-wielding white nationalists also demonstrated in May against the removal.

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