WORLD NEWS
08/14/2017 12:41 pm ET Updated Aug 14, 2017

Merkel Condemns 'Repulsive' Far-Right Violence In Charlottesville

She pledges to stand with anyone who peacefully opposes hateful ideology.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday condemned the violent white supremacist rallies held over the weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, during which one of the participants allegedly drove a car into a crowd of counter-protesters and killed a 32-year-old woman. 

Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters the chancellor strongly opposed the rallies’ ideology and supported those who peacefully stood up against far-right views.

“The scenes at the right-wing extremist march were absolutely repulsive ― naked racism, anti-Semitism and hate in their most evil form were on display,” Seibert said, according to Agence France Presse

Such hateful beliefs are “completely contrary to what the chancellor and the German government works for politically,” Seibert added. Many of the protesters in Charlottesville carried Nazi flags and symbols, something that has been banned in Germany since the end of World War II. 

Merkel’s spokesman also said the chancellor expressed her sympathies for the victim of the car ramming, Heather Heyer, calling the Saturday incident “an evil attack.”

In the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman on Sunday also strongly condemned the far right. Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn went further, taking aim at U.S. President Donald Trump for his muted response to the violence incited by the white supremacist gathering.

What happened “was the [Ku Klux Klan] and its supporters, white supremacists, arrived in Charlottesville in order to cause trouble,” Corbyn said.

“Surely every president of every country in the world ... should be able to condemn that.”

Trump has been widely criticized for his statement on Saturday that condemned violence “on many sides,” and made no mention of the far-right, white nationalist nature of the rallies.

White House officials attempted to strengthen Trump’s message in later clarifying statements, but the effort failed to quell persistent criticism of the president’s initial failure to issue a strong and explicit condemnation of far-right extremism.

Trump, speaking from the White House early Monday afternoon, delivered a stronger message, saying “racism is evil” and that those “who cause violence in its name” ― including Ku Klux Klan members, neo-Nazis and white supremacists ― are “criminals and thugs.” Such hate groups “are repugnant to everything we hold dear.”

This article has been updated with Trump’s latest comments condemning racists and hate groups.

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