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New Yorkers respond to Virginia violence with protest in Union Square

Activists gathered in Union Square Saturday during a Black Lives Matter assembly to condemn the brutality in Charlottesville.
Union Square protesters. (Billy Becerra)

Protesters gathered in Union Square on Saturday in response to violence at a Virginia white supremacist rally just hours before.

Black Lives Matter NYC assembled more than 100 activists in the square in downtown Manhattan to speak out against the clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a car sped into crowds of peaceful protesters who had been demonstrating against a group of white nationalists. One person was killed, and 19 were injured.

At Union Square on Saturday was a Charlottesville native, Sarah Holden, who was deeply disturbed by the violence in her hometown earlier that day.

"This horrific event has been on my radar ever since they've been planning it," Holden told NY1. "I've been checking in with my family and friends, and it's not only sickening to see what's happening; it's also massively disheartening to see some of the way the city's leadership and law enforcement is handling it."

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio have each made statements condemning the violence in Virginia.

"There are not many sides to the violence of last night and today – these actions and this speech are a poison and serve to bring us all down to the lowest and most un-American of moments,” Cuomo said, in what appears to be a response to President Trump’s condemnation of violence “on many sides.”

In a tweet Saturday evening, the mayor rejected the brutality, stating, “The white supremacists have taken their hate, violence and intolerance to the streets. We will not be intimidated by domestic terrorism."