Chanting “White lives matter!” “You will not replace us!” and “Jews will not replace us!” several hundred white nationalists and white supremacists carrying torches march in a parade through the University of Virginia campus last night
The fast-paced march was made up almost exclusively of men in their 20s and 30s, though there were some who looked to be in their mid-teens.Beginning a little after 9:30 p.m., the march lasted 15 to 20 minutes before ending in skirmishes when the marchers were met by a small group of counterprotesters at the base of a statue of Thomas Jefferson, the university’s founder.
The march came on the eve of the Unite the Right rally, a gathering of groups from around the country whose members have said they are being persecuted for being white and that white history in America is being erased.The Saturday rally is being held at noon at Emancipation Park, formerly Lee Park, home to a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee that the city of Charlottesville voted to remove earlier this year. The statue remains in the park pending a judge’s ruling expected later this month.
Many city leaders and residents have expressed concern about the prospect of violence at Saturday’s the event.Estimates have suggested that one thousand or some protesters may take part in the Saturday rally. Expectations were that counter protesters might turn out in larger numbers.
Saturday’s rally marks the second time in six weeks that Charlottesville has faced a protest from white supremacist groups for its decision to remove the statue. On July 8, about three dozen members of a regional Ku Klux Klan group protested in the city.The torchlight parade drew sharp condemnations from Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer and U-Va. President Teresa Sullivan.Sullivan described herself as “deeply saddened and disturbed by the hateful behavior”shown by the marchers.
Signer said he was “beyond disgusted by this unsanctioned and despicable display of visual intimidation on a college campus.” He called the chanting procession a “cowardly parade of hatred, bigotry, racism, and intolerance.”