Mother of Charlottesville victim urges people to fight against hatred and division

Heather Heyer, 32, was killed during clashes on Saturday when a car drove into a crowd of counter-protesters

Mother of Charlottesville victim urges people to fight against hatred and division

Picture: Mykal McEldowney/IndyStar via USA TODAY NETWORK

The mother of a protester who was killed during violent clashes in Virginia has used her daughter's memorial service to urge people to fight against hatred and division.

Susan Bro was given a standing ovation at the service in Charlottesville as she insisted Heather Heyer's death was the start of her legacy.

She said: "They tried to kill my child to shut her up. Well, guess what? You just magnified her.

"You need to find in your heart that small spark of accountability. What is there that I can do to make the world a better place.

"You poke that finger at yourself like Heather would have done and you make it happen. You take that extra step.

"If you are not outraged you are not paying attention. I would rather have my child but, by golly, if we have to give her up we're going to make it count."

Hundreds of people, many wearing purple in honour of Ms Heyer, packed the Paramount Theater in the city for the service.

Crowds also filled a second cinema and lined the streets wearing purple badges.

Ms Heyer, 32, was killed during clashes on Saturday between white nationalists attending a "Unite the Right" rally and counter-protesters.

The paralegal was hit by a car driven at high speed as she crossed the street.

James Fields, 20, from Ohio, has been charged with her murder.

"Beautiful and incredible Heather Heyer"

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, US Senator Tim Kane and Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer were among those at the memorial service.

President Donald Trump has come under heavy criticism - much of it from his own Republican party - over his initial response to the violence, after he blamed "many sides" for the clashes.

On Monday, he bowed to political pressure and condemned neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan by name, but again increased tensions on Tuesday by insisting counter-protesters were also to blame.

On Wednesday, former Republican presidents George HW Bush and George W Bush issued a joint statement that condemned racial bigotry and anti-Semitism.

The statement read: "America must always reject racial bigotry, anti-Semitism, and hatred in all forms."

The statement did not directly reference President Trump's remarks.

Mr Trump tweeted about Ms Heyer on Wednesday, saying she was "beautiful and incredible" and a "truly special woman".