St. Louis activists march in support of Charlottesville
St. Louis activists march in support of Charlottesville. | Al Neal/PW

ST. LOUIS — Over 100 activists gathered and marched throughout downtown St. Louis Saturday, Aug.12, in support of the anti-“alt-right” protestors in Charlottesville, Va., and to raise awareness of the Stockley murder trial, the former St. Louis officer charged with first degree murder in the 2011 killing of Anthony Lamar Smith.

By early Saturday the Associated Press reported on the growing violence at the “Unite the Right” rally organized by a number of “alt-right,” neo-Nazi and white supremacist hate groups. The rally erupted into chaos as a car plowed through a group of peaceful counter-protestors, hurling bodies into the air.

Heather Heyer, 32, was killed by the driver as she attempted to cross the street and 19 others were reported injured.

The driver James Alex Fields Jr,. a 20-year-old from Ohio, was charged with one count of second degree murder,  three counts of malicious wounding, failure to stop for an accident involving death and a hit-and-run.

Speaking to the Associated Press, Susan Bloom, his mother, said that she knew her son was going to a political rally but thought it was a Trump rally, not a white supremacist rally.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signer, both Democrats, condemned the violence and placed blame on the white supremacists who came from out of town.

In his prepared remarks, Trump failed to condemn the “alt-right’s” act of domestic terrorism and simply blamed the “egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides.”

Trump has come under sharp criticism even from fellow Republicans for not speaking against the Nazis and alt-right and for ignoring that many white supremacists in attendance aligned themselves with Trump during the hate rally.

“We’re gonna fulfill the promises of Donald Trump,” said former KKK leader David Duke.

Back in St. Louis, activists holding signs that read “F**k the KKK” and chanting “White silence is violence” marched into Busch stadium at 7 p.m. Cardinals fans in attendance were visibly upset by the action and chose to show their frustration by hurling insults, cans of beer and, in some instances, white power slogans.

“I heard someone yell go home. And I turned to him and said we are home,” said State Rep. Bruce Franks Jr. “People have to understand why we’re are here, they have to understand that we can’t just sit back and watch injustices keep happening and be silent about it.”

In remembrance of Mike Brown, activists took the street for a four minute “die-in,” symbolizing the four hours Brown’s body laid uncovered in the street.

The violence in Charlottesville, Va., comes mere days after the third anniversary of Brown’s killing at the hands of former Ferguson officer Darren Williams.

At 10 p.m. activists marched out of the stadium, taking over the intersection, and interacted with the fans as they left the game.

There were a few visible physical altercations and two reported arrests. A black SUV was seen repeatedly hitting and attempting to run over several protestors. No injuries were immediately reported.


Al Neal
Al Neal

Award winning journalist Al Neal is PW associate editor for labor and politics. He is also the chief photographer for People's World. He is a member of the Chicago News Guild, Society of Professional Journalists, Professional Photographers of America, National Sports Media Association, and The Ernest Brooks Foundation.