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Charlottesville: Anti-racist activist Corey Long's trial delayed

Charlottesville: Anti-racist activist Corey Long's trial delayed
From Al Jazeera - April 17, 2018

The trial of Corey Long, an African American man who was allegedly shot at by a white nationalist during last August's "Unite the Right" Rally in Charlottesville, Virginia has been granted a continuance.

Community organisers gathered outside the courtroom on Tuesday morning wearing all black in support of Long, whose lawyers asked for the continuance. Organisers told Al Jazeera they believe the trial will take place in June.

Long has been charged with misdemeanour assault and disorderly conduct related to his use of a "flamethrower" at the rally. Long's lawyers asked for the delay after being offered a plea deal, which they did not accept, activists said.

Organisers feel Long was unjustly charged after white nationalists present during the August 12 rally told law enforcement they were assaulted.

Video from the incident shows a white nationalist firing a gun in Long's direction.

Long "never should have been charged with a crime in the first place", Charlottesville activists said in a statement sent to Al Jazeera.

'Unite the Right'

The "Unite the Right" rally and its fallout marked a new era for the far-right movement in the US, commonly referred to as the alt-right, a loosely knit movement including neo-Nazis, white supremacists and white nationalists.

White nationalists of different ideologies gathered in Charlottesville to "defend" statues of Confederate leaders that local activists were fighting to have removed.

Counterprotesters and anti-racist demonstrators gathered to confront those gathered for the rally, and in the ensuing violence, 32-year-old Heather Heyer was killed when James Fields Jr allegedly drove his car into a crowd.

A photo of Long using a lighter to ignite a stream of spray paint to keep back a man attempting to beat him with a Confederate flag - a common symbol of white nationalists - went viral in the days following the rally.

Solidarity CVille, a network of community organisations, said the photo became "a symbol of resistance to the violent white supremacist attack on Charlottesville".

'Drop the charges'

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