The white supremacists Donald Trump is loath to criticise made city’s plan to remove a Confederate statue their rallying point

Eight years ago, as the nation’s first black president took office, pundits debated whether Barack Obama’s election marked the rise of a “post-racial America”.

On Saturday, hundreds of American neo-Nazis and white nationalists clashed with anti-fascist demonstrators in the streets of a liberal university town, sending the city into chaos as the governor declared a state of emergency. The white nationalists had planned to rally around a statue of the Confederate general Robert E Lee, which Charlottesville, Virginia, had decided to remove from a public park.

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