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Aug 17, 12:09 PM EDT

The Latest: Confederate statue at Duke University defaced

AP Photo
AP Photo/Evan Vucci

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) -- The Latest on the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that erupted into deadly violence (all times local):

11:35 a.m.

A statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee at Duke University in North Carolina has been defaced.

The Lee statue in the entryway to Duke Chapel had scuff marks where someone struck it. Part of its nose is damaged.

Duke officials discovered the vandalism early Thursday.

Lee's likeness is one of 10 historical figures lining the main entryway to the neo-Gothic church. The others include religious leaders and two other historical figures of the American South, Thomas Jefferson and poet Sidney Lanier.

Duke President Vincent Price said in a statement he had already been discussing how to deal with strong reactions to the statue, but says it's wrong for someone to vandalize a house of worship.

The university is investigating and reviewing video from outside the chapel. Security has been increased.


10:30 a.m.

French President Emmanuel Macron is offering support for counter-protesters in what he described as a collective, historic battle against intolerance.

Macron, in his first public comments about the weekend's deadly white nationalist rally in Virginia, tweeted Thursday: "at the sides of those who fight racism and xenophobia. Our joint combat, yesterday as today. #Charlottesville."

French far right leader Marine Le Pen, runner-up to Macron in this year's tense presidential election, has not commented. She has worked to shed her National Front party's past racist reputation but it maintains links with some extremist figures.

National Front No. 2 Florian Philippot sought to distance his anti-immigrant party from the U.S. marchers. Speaking on public broadcaster Francetvinfo, he said "we should condemn these racist supremacists" and called it an internal U.S. affair.


7:45 a.m.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe says he doesn't want President Donald Trump to visit Charlottesville if the president continues using rhetoric the governor says is dividing the country.

McAuliffe said in an interview on CBS on Thursday that Trump should come to the city if he wants to discuss how the nation can heal after the deadly violence during Saturday's white nationalist rally.

But the Democratic governor says he doesn't want Trump to come "to continue on with the speeches he has given the last couple of days." McAuliffe says "those speeches are dividing us."

McAuliffe said there's no place in the country for people who incite or encourages the hateful behavior on display last weekend. McAuliffe says "this hate speech has got to end."


7 a.m.

Russia's state communications watchdog has quickly blocked the U.S. white supremacist website that demonized the woman killed while protesting a white nationalist rally last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Access to the Daily Stormer, a site taking its name from the Nazi propaganda newspaper Der Stürmer, has been sporadic since Monday, when Google canceled its domain name registration, making its IP address nearly impossible for internet users to locate. The website briefly resurfaced Wednesday with a Russian domain name and registration.

Alexander Zharov, the head of Roskomnadzor communications watchdog, said Thursday his agency has ordered to strip the website of the Russian registration as it "propagates neo-Nazi ideology and incites racial and ethnic hatred."

The site has mocked Heather Heyer, the woman killed when a driver rammed a car into a crowd of demonstrators Saturday.


7 a.m.

A local Delaware NAACP branch wants officials to cut off state funding for a historical society to force the removal of a Confederate monument on its grounds.

Local news outlets report that the Lower Sussex County NAACP is asking state lawmakers to call on the Controller General's Office to withhold $11,500 in Grant-in-Aid funding for the Georgetown Historical Society until it takes down the confederate monument at the museum.

Communities around the country have removed Confederate monuments under pressure from those who say they honor a regime that enslaved African-Americans. But the pace has quickened since violent clashes at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that Gov. John Carney has said he would support withholding public funds for the historical society.


3:45 a.m.

Family members of the young woman mowed down while protesting a white nationalist rally say the best way to honor Heather Heyer is to continue her fight against injustice.

Heyer's mother, Susan Bro, told mourners packing the Paramount Theater on Wednesday to ask themselves, "What can I do to make a difference?"

Heyer's death on Saturday has triggered fury among many Americans and soul-searching about the state of race relations in the U.S.

The 32-year-old Heyer was killed and 19 others were injured when a car plowed into counter-protesters who had taken to the streets to decry the white nationalist rally.

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