Charlottesville council cleared after commotion when Jason Kessler arrives

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WCAV) — Council chambers were cleared during the Charlottesville City Council meeting after a commotion broke out between Jason Kessler, organizer of the Unite the Right rally, and members of the audience Monday night.

The commotion began an hour into the meeting when Kessler went up to the podium to speak.

He addressed the councilors, asking if they would support his rights if a federal judge granted him an injunction to hold another rally in support of the monuments.

“How many of you would support my right to peacefully demonstrate in Lee Park, by show of hands?” asked Kessler.

“We have a rule against directly addressing councilors, so you’re free to make a statement,” said Councilor Mike Signer in response to Kessler.

Kessler replied to Signer saying his opinion didn’t matter.

“Don’t interrupt me again,” said Kessler. “I ask for your hand, not your opinion.”

Kessler passed his time to Brian Lambert and Chris Wayne when the commotion began.

Dozens of people from the crowd gathered in front of the podium yelling at Kessler and Wayne while Mayor Nikuyah Walker tried to call the meeting back to order.

After a few minutes, Walker asked for everyone to clear the room and city council went into a closed session.

Dozens of people gathered in the hallway and continued yelling at Wayne and Kessler.

After 30 minutes of recess, city council asked everyone to return back into the chambers.

Walker addressed the crowd about her experience in their seats and how she doesn't stand for this conduct during council meetings.

"I don’t even raise my kids like this, to the point where I’m telling them what to say,” said Walker. “I want them to be vocal, I want them to have a voice.”

Walker continued the conversation with a reminder of the public comment guidelines and how important it is to respect each other's opinions.

“They have a right to voice their concerns,” said Walker. “How this has to work, is that if you disagree, what's the strategy you come up with so things will be different in the area, if you feel different about that? The screaming, yelling, bottles crinkling is not going to change that.”

City council continued with their scheduled agenda.

No arrests were made in connection to the commotion.