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Neo-Nazi movement thriving in US one year on from Charlottesville

A year ago, in the picturesque community of Charlottesville, Americans looked in the mirror and glimpsed something truly and deeply shocking.

They saw that there are neo-Nazis living and thriving in the United States - not just rogue individuals, but a movement that is growing, mobilising, and coordinating with other far right groups and extremist militias.

The residents of Charlottesville - a university town in Virginia just 100 miles south of the nation’s capital - have spent a year coming to terms with those haunting images of torch-carrying racists, and with the tragic death of a protester.

Now Washington DC is braced for a similar extremist rally planned for Sunday night. Counter-demonstrators are certain to mobilise as well.

Heather Heyer was killed during last year's protest.

Tensions over race and immigration are already high, inflamed by Trump’s nationalist rhetoric.

To mark the Charlottesville anniversary, I visited the small town of Ulysses in northern Pennsylvania to meet Daniel Burnside, who is one of the leaders of America’s neo-Nazis.

He has turned his property into a shrine to Hitler and the Third Reich.

Swastika flags fly over the home - imagery protected by the First Amendment - and Burnside doesn’t seek to hide his virulent white supremacist and anti-Semitic views.

And, significantly, he’s feeling these are the best of times to be a far right extremist in America.

Burnside says President Trump’s victory in 2016, and his anti-immigrant "America First" language since then, have helped embolden and legitimise his movement.

Burnside regards Trump as a natural ally, especially when the President is speaking off-the-cuff.

He claims - without evidence - that membership of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement has gone up 1,000%.

Burnside's home is a shrine to Hitler and the Third Reich. Credit: ITV News

But in the small community of Ulysses, Burnside is viewed as a troublemaker by the mayor and by many residents.

Others, though, defend his right to hold outrageous and appalling views as protected by the Constitution.

America’s long and anguished struggle to extinguish white supremacist views is facing a new challenge.

This weekend is likely to witness another flashpoint.