Groups hold peace rallies across CA after car attack, violence in Charlottesville

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Demonstrations were held all over California to show solidarity with the victim who was killed after a car plowed into a crowd of protesters at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

In downtown Los Angeles, demonstrators gathered in front of the Los Angeles Police Department's headquarters. They temporarily blocked traffic in the streets, carrying rainbow flags, signs and banners.

"It's frightening because my grandfather was dealing with civil issues back in the 60s and 40s and here we are in 2017 and we're still dealing with the same thing," protester Jai Pinkston said.

Other protesters in Santa Ana, Oakland and other parts of the state said they are also appalled by the displays of violence in Virginia and say President Donald Trump has not done enough to denounce it. They also partially blame him for what happened.

The rally in Charlottesville resulted in a woman's death as well as other violent confrontations throughout Saturday morning. The group, which is believed to be the largest gathering of white nationalists in a decade, were protesting plans to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Counter-protesters arrived to speak out against the racism, which resulted in several clashes. The governor declared a state of emergency and police dressed in riot gear in an effort to control unruly crowds.

While a group of counter-protesters were walking through the streets, a silver Dodge Challenger charged through the crowd, smashed into another car, backed up and then barreled back out of the street. One witness saw people being hurled in the air as the car rushed through the crowd.

A 32-year-old woman, who has not been identified, was killed and more than dozens were injured. The driver was taken into custody and later identified as James Alex Fields Jr., 20, of Ohio. He faces charges of second-degree murder, among other charges.
Santa Ana demonstrator Spencer Kelly said he has an adopted brother who is black and has felt uncomfortable since Trump won the election.

"There's been more open racism, more hate, more bigotry - and it's prevalent and it's scary. People fear for their lives, and we need to come together and stop this division. I really hope that can happen," Kelly said.

Late Saturday, the Department of Justice and FBI launched a federal civil rights investigation into the deadly car attack.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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