Charlottesville terror attack: Murder charge after man rams car into crowd

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The FBI has launched a civil rights investigation after a man allegedly rammed his car into a crowd of protesters, following a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

At least one people were killed and 19 others injured after a car was driven into the group of peaceful protesters on Saturday (local time), local police said.

Video from the scene shows pedestrians being sent flying as the car barrels down an avenue, before reversing and speeding away.

The protesters were opposing a white supremacist rally which had been set to take place earlier that day, but was shut down by authorities.

Charlottesville police arrested 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr, from Ohio, in relation to the attack. He's since been charged with murder, three counts of malicious wounding, and one count of hit and run.

James Alex Fields Jr.
James Alex Fields Jr. Photo credit: Charlottesville Police Department

Two police officers were also killed when their helicopter crashed just a few hours after the attack, near Charlottesville.

A Virginia State police spokesperson confirmed the crash was linked to the violent rally, but didn't elaborate.

A number of Republican officials have vocally condemned the attack, blasting it as "domestic terrorism". Both Senator Cory Gardner and Governor Mike Huckabee labelled the attack as "evil".

"Mr President [Donald Trump] - we must call evil by its name. These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism," Mr Gardner tweeted.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who ran in the Republican primaries against Mr Trump, said Mr Trump needs to "describe events in Charlottesville for what they are, a terror attack by white supremacists".

In contrast, Mr Trump simply paid his condolences to the 32-year-old woman killed, tweeting: "So sad!"

"We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Lets [sic] come together as one!"

His words have been taken by some white nationalists as support for the rally, while Mr Trump has also been criticised online as condemning both the peaceful protesters and the violent ones equally.

"We condemn, in the strongest possible terms, this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides - on many sides," Mr Trump said.

A state of emergency has been declared in the city.