The neo-Nazis and white supremacists who marched and brawled in Charlottesville, Virginia, this weekend wore their whiteness like a shield. It was proudly evident in their uncovered faces and their arms outstretched in Hitler salutes. It was displayed on their bare skin, which flaunted tattoos of swastikas and Confederate flags.
Mark Peterson’s photographs capture the baleful scene, illuminating the protesters’ faces and eyes, some of which are joyful in their hate. They bludgeon and stamp on counter-protesters, who scramble and care for the fallen, including Heather Heyer, struck and killed by a white supremacist’s car.
Their assailants had no need for hoods and masks, not when they have a defender in the White House. In these photos, they are naked and unafraid. The faces of the white supremacist leaders Richard Spencer and Jason Kessler are eerily pale, almost incandescent. But the face of David Duke, a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, is partly cast in shadow, as if gesturing at the deep darkness from which this virulent brand of American hatred springs.
A white nationalist punches a counter-protester, knocking him to the ground on Market Street.
Medics rush to help 32-year-old Heather Heyer, who was killed when white supremacist James Fields Jr. allegedly rammed his car into the crowd.
White nationalists use homemade shields to defend themselves from flying objects.
Jason Kessler, organizer of the “Unite The Right” rally, stands in front of the Robert E. Lee statue, whose planned removal was the nominal reason for the march.
A counter-protester walks through a cloud of tear gas.
Richard Spencer, president of a white nationalist think tank known as the National Policy Institute, surrounded by his personal security guards. “I love the smell of tear gas in the morning,” he tells the crowd.
A shirtless neo-Nazi displaying his swastika tattoo.
Former KKK grand wizard David Duke tells reporters at the rally, “We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump. That’s what we believed in, that’s why we voted for Donald Trump.”
A member of the National Guard stands on top of an armored personnel carrier. He is pointing his weapon into a crowd of injured people, moments after Fields crashed his car.
A white nationalist throws a smoke grenade canister that he picked up from the ground, aiming at counter-protesters.
A white nationalist beats a counter-protester with a Confederate flagpole.
A man with a fascist-style haircut, covered in pepper spray, wields a police baton.
A neo-Nazi makes a sieg heil salute. Protesters could be heard chanting the Nazi slogan “blood and soil” during the rally.