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Athens County man injured in Virginia protest

Bill Burke could be released Sunday from a Virginia hospital after being injured Saturday when a car drove into a crowd of counter protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Courtesy Sarah Burke)

An Athens County man who felt compelled to protest against hate was critically injured Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Bill Burke was injured when the car police say was driven by Maumee, Ohio resident James Alex Fields ran into a group of counter protesters. Burke's wife, Annie, said his passion drove him to go to Virginia.

"Bill is very passionate about social justice," she said. "We are very opposed to the white supremacist agenda and when he heard about this large rally, he felt compelled to join the protesters to show that there are many people who also oppose their agenda of hate and bigotry."

One person was killed, a Virginia paralegal named Heather Heyer, and more than a dozen were injured when a car police say was driven by James Alex Fields of Maumee ran into a group of counter protesters during a white nationalist rally neat the University of Virginia.

Burke's niece, Sarah, said Annie told her doctors say Bill's X-rays are clear and he could be released from the hospital Sunday before the long drive back to Athens County.

Daniel Kington, the president of the International Socialist Organization in Athens said Burke is a member of the group and the lone member of the chapter currently in Athens.

"The solidarity so many people are giving to Bill and the other victims is greatly appreciated. Unfortunately, we know that the fascist threat is real and growing and it cannot be stopped by any politician or police," Kingston said. "Only masses of people, standing in solidarity with the most oppressed people in our society, like Bill did, can confront and stop the fascist threat.

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