Obama tweets Mandela quotes after Charlottesville clashes

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Former President Obama tweeted quotes from Nelson Mandela after violent clashes Saturday in what is believed to be the largest white nationalist rally in a decade left three people dead, including a pedestrian killed when a car plowed into a group of counter-protesters.

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion … People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love… …For love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite,” Mr. Obama sent in a series of three tweets.

A 32-year-old woman was killed crossing the street when a driver plowed into a group of counter-protesters and two Virginia State Police troopers were killed in a helicopter crash near the city. Nineteen others were injured. 

The violence began Saturday when alt-right activists and white supremacists planned to protest the city’s decision to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from the city’s Emancipation Park, but police broke up the demonstration before it began. Images of white nationalists carrying torches electrified social media on Friday night. 

Mr. Obama’s tweets came hours after President Trump was criticized for remarks when he condemned hatred and bigotry “on many sides.” 

“We’re closely following the terrible events unfolding in Charlottesville, Virginia,” Mr. Trump said to reporters at his resort in Bedminister, New Jersey. “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides … On many sides. Not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. This has been going on for a long, long time.” 

In his remarks, Mr. Trump did not mention the displays of white nationalism or Nazi symbols present in Charlottesville Saturday.

Mr. Trump later tweeted “No matter our color, creed, religion or political party, we are ALL AMERICANS FIRST.”

 Democrats and some Republicans called out Mr. Trump directly for refusing condemn white nationalists.

Mr. Trump’s 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton, did not mention the president directly but she did write “every minute we allow this to persist through tacit encouragement or inaction is a disgrace, & corrosive to our values.”

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe strongly denounced the protests and declared a state of emergency. 

“We are stronger than you,” the Democratic governor told reporters. “You have made our commonwealth stronger. You will not succeed. There is no place for you here.”  

© 2017 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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