Following her death at the ongoing conflict in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday, Sen. Bernie Sanders offered condolences to Heather Heyer’s family via Twitter Sunday afternoon and didn’t back down from the real cause of her death. “Our condolences go out to the family of Heather Heyer who was killed by a terrorist as she protested Neo-Nazism and white supremacy,” Sanders said. He continued in separate tweets saying, “Heather sacrificed her life in the fight for social and racial justice. She will not be forgotten. The best way for us to truly honor her memory is to make sure that, every day, we continue that struggle.”
32-year-old Heyer died Saturday while attending counter-protests for a “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville. A young white supremacist protester drove his car through a crowd nearby the University of Virginia, killing Heyer and injuring over a dozen others. There are little to no reports of the condition of the other victims, suggesting none other than Heyer had major injuries. The suspect, who came all the way from Ohio to attend the rally, is now in custody being held on suspicion of second-degree murder, malicious wounding and failure to stop in an accident that resulted in death, according to CNN.
Our condolences go out to the family of Heather Heyer who was killed by a terrorist as she protested Neo-Nazism and white supremacy.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) August 13, 2017
Sanders’ post on Heyer’s death highlights some of the forthcoming rhetorical issues surrounding the Charlottesville conflict. Historically, it has been difficult to find anyone willing to describe incidents involving the far-right as terrorism. However, a growing force of prominent figures including Senator Ted Cruz and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster have used the laden word in connection with the events in Charlottesville. “I think what terrorism is, is the use of violence to incite terror and fear, and of course it was terrorism,” McMaster said Sunday during an interview on Meet the Press. “Certainly, we can confidently call it a form of terrorism.”
After the recent tragedy lets take a look back at some recent legislation offered up against protestors and in protection of those who perpetuate violence on them:
Since the election of President Trump, Republican lawmakers in at least 18 states have introduced or voted on legislation to curb mass protests in what civil liberties experts are calling “an attack on protest rights throughout the states.”
From Virginia to Washington state, legislators have introduced bills that would increase punishments for blocking highways, ban the use of masks during protests, indemnify drivers who strike protesters with their cars and, in at least once case, seize the assets of people involved in protests that later turn violent. The proposals come after a string of mass protest movements in the past few years, covering everything from police shootings of unarmed black men to the Dakota Access Pipeline to the inauguration of Trump.
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