It was a Friday afternoon, just before rush hour, when two teenage girls boarded a packed train in Portland, Oregon. One of them was wearing a hijab.

“Get off the bus (sic) and get out of the country because you don’t pay taxes here,” yelled fellow passenger Jeremy Joseph Christian, according to an eyewitness.

Christian continued to hurl abuse at the pair, calling Muslims “criminals”, before three men stepped in. For two of them, the decision would prove fatal.

Carrying Nazi flags and chanting “Jews will not replace us”, hundreds of white nationalists descended on the university town to protest against the removal of a statue.

The local council, and its Jewish mayor, had decided Confederate icon General Robert E Lee – an American Civil War general who supported slavery – should no longer be celebrated.

The following day, 20-year-old suspected extremist James Alex Fields drove a car into a crowd of anti-racism campaigners who had gathered in response to the protests, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer.

Read the report and watch the news clip from SBS TV News.

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