US Senate backs resolution against white nationalists

Senators say Heather Heyer's killing was a 'domestic terrorist attack', calling for measures against hate groups.

    US Senate backs resolution against white nationalists
    The resolution will go to the House, where identical language has been introduced [File: Getty Images/AFP]

    The US Senate has approved a resolution condemning white supremacists, neo-Nazis and other hate groups following a white supremacist rally in Virginia that descended into deadly violence.

    Rally in US city of Charlottesville turns deadly as car rams into counter-protesters

    During the rally, a man with links to a white supremacist group rammed his car into a crowd of anti-racist protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer. 

    Monday's resolution, which passed with unanimous support, describes the killing as a "domestic terrorist attack". 

    It also urges President Donald Trump and his administration to speak out against hate groups that espouse racism, "extremism", xenophobia, anti-Semitism and white supremacy.

    The resolution calls on the justice department and other federal agencies to "use all resources available" to improve data collection on hate crimes and "address the growing prevalence of those hate groups in the United States".

    Next stop

    The resolution will go to the House next, where identical language has been introduced.

    If adopted by both chambers, the resolution would go to the president.

    The white supremacist rally took place in the city over the planned removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E Lee.

    Trump has been criticised for his response to the violence and rally, in which he asserted there were good people on "both sides" and bemoaned rising efforts to remove Confederate monuments as an attack on US "history and culture".

    The Senate resolution is supported by a range of civil rights groups, including the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the Anti-Defamation League and the NAACP Legal Defence Fund.

    'Alarming' racism

    Since Trump's election, rights groups and monitors have documented a dramatic increase in the number of hate crimes in the US

    Between the November 8 election of Trump and April, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) watchdog recorded 1,863 bias incidents. In the 10 days following Trump's election the SPLC documented an average of 87 hate incidents a day, which was five times the daily average recorded by the FBI in 2015. 

    Last month, the UN issued a rare warning over what it called "alarming" racism in the US. 

    "We are alarmed by the racist demonstrations, with overtly racist slogans, chants and salutes by white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and the Ku Klux Klan, promoting white supremacy and inciting racial discrimination and hatred," the chair of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) said. 

    The human rights experts called on the US and its leadership to "unequivocally and unconditionally" condemn racist speech and crimes, warning that a failure to do so could fuel further violent incidents. 

    THE LISTENING POST: Charlottesville - White supremacy and the White House (Full)

    SOURCE: AP news agency


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