Four charged over neo-Nazi Charlottesville 'riot'

US authorities charged four members of a white supremacist movement on Tuesday with inciting violence over the deadly "Unite the Right" march in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017.

The event culminated in a man driving a car into a crowd of counter protesters, killing a woman and injuring 19 other people.

US President Donald Trump infamously took 48 hours to respond only to blame "both sides" despite overwhelming evidence that neo-Nazis were the principal source of violence.

WATCH: Protests mark anniversary of Charlottesville race violence

Benjamin Daley, Michael Miselis, Thomas Gillen and Cole White were arrested after being identified in pictures and video attacking counter protestors during the march, which resulted in serious injuries, an indictment issued on Tuesday said.

All four were members of the southern California-based "Rise Above Movement", which prosecutors described as a militant white supremacist and anti-Semitic group.

Violent actions

The four "travelled to Charlottesville to encourage, promote, incite, participate in and commit violent acts in furtherance of a riot", according to a criminal complaint filed in Charlottesville federal court.

The complaint said they had already attended political rallies in Huntington Beach and Berkeley, California in 2017 where they attacked other protestors.

Their own "extensive" social media presence documented their violent actions in the California protests and at the August 11 - 12 "Unite The Right" protest in Charlottesville, said district attorney Thomas Cullen.

Each was charged with multiple counts of inciting to riot, which Cullen said could bring a maximum 10 years in prison.

Cullen said the investigation was aided by information in a joint investigation by the ProPublica investigative journalism group and PBS television's Frontline show.

The protests saw hundreds of neo-Nazi sympathisers, some carrying firearms, yelling white nationalist slogans while wielding flaming torches in scenes eerily reminiscent of racist rallies held in America's South before the Civil Rights movement.

They had gathered to protest efforts to remove statues of Confederate leaders, including the Confederacy's top general, Robert E Lee.

On the second day, August 12, fighting broke out between neo-Nazi supporters and anti-fascists from a black-clad group called Antifa.

Heather Heyer, 32, was killed and 19 others were injured when 20-year-old James Fields allegedly drove into a crowd of protesters.

Fields has been charged with murder and hate crimes.

Addressing reporters two days later, Trump appeared to blame the right and the left equally, drawing widespread scorn.

"You had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides," he said.

That drew tough criticism from his predecessor in the White House, Barack Obama.

"How hard can that be, to say that Nazis are bad?" Obama said.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
When assisting your child with remote learning this year, did you:
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Follow the school's comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) curriculum?
14% - 374 votes
Adjust the CSE curriculum to suit the family's morals?
24% - 650 votes
Ignore the schools CSE programme and do your own teaching?
63% - 1738 votes
Vote
ZAR/USD
15.16
(+0.01)
ZAR/GBP
20.39
(+0.07)
ZAR/EUR
18.41
(+0.01)
ZAR/AUD
11.26
(+0.14)
ZAR/JPY
0.15
(+0.11)
Gold
1839.74
(-0.00)
Silver
24.01
(+0.01)
Platinum
1041.00
(+1.77)
Brent Crude
48.78
(+0.95)
Palladium
2340.50
(+1.38)
All Share
58947.48
(+1.14)
Top 40
54171.85
(+1.29)
Financial 15
11399.33
(+0.82)
Industrial 25
79681.43
(+0.78)
Resource 10
56621.26
(+2.07)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo