Rally accused idolised Hitler: ex-teacher

August 14, 2017

Hate group Vanguard America denies any involvement with murder accused James Alex Fields Jr.

The driver accused of crashing his car into a crowd protesting a white supremacist rally in Virginia was photographed hours earlier carrying the emblem of one of the hate groups that organised the "take America back" campaign.

Vanguard America denied on Sunday any association with the suspect.

Police charged James Alex Fields Jr with second-degree murder and other counts after a silver Dodge Challenger they say he was driving barrelled through a crowd of counter-protesters, killing a woman and wounding at least 19.

In a photo taken by the New York Daily News, Fields, a 20-year-old who recently moved to Ohio from Kentucky, stands with a handful of men, all dressed similarly in the Vanguard America uniform of khakis and white polo shirts.

The men hold white shields with a black-and-white logo of two axes.

The Confederate statue of Robert E. Lee is in the background. The Daily News said the photo was taken on Saturday morning.

Charlottesville officials say Fields crashed his car into the crowd later that afternoon.

The Anti-Defamation League says the group believes the US is an exclusively white nation, and uses propaganda to recruit young white men online and on college campuses.

In a Twitter post, the group said it had handed out the shields "to anyone in attendance who wanted them", and denied Fields was a member. "All our members are safe an (sic) accounted for, with no arrests or charges."

Saturday's chaos erupted as neo-Nazis, skinheads, members of the Ku Klux Klan, and other white supremacist groups staged a rally to protest the city of Charlottesville's plans to remove the Lee statue.

Peaceful counter-protesters arrived and marched downtown, carrying signs that read "black lives matter" and "love".

The two groups clashed, causing the rally to be called off amid safety fears.

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