Richard Spencer Led Torch-Carrying Protesters Against Confederate Statue’s Planned Removal


White nationalist Richard Spencer appeared in Charlottesville, Virginia last night, where he led an unsettling rally to protest plans to remove several Confederate monuments around the city.

Reports from the local Daily Progress state that Spencer took part in at least two demonstrations this weekend in order to denounce the city’s decision to sell a statue of Confederate general Robert E Lee. During the night, Spencer posted a picture of himself in the middle of a torch-bearing crowd of protesters assembling around Lee Park.

Local media reports that the crowd chanted slogans like “Russia is our friend,” “blood and soil,” and “we will not be replaced” during their gathering. Police confirmed several verbal confrontations between protesters and counterprotesters, and the crowd dispersed after approximately 10 minutes. The Guardian reports that no one was arrested in connection with the rally.

Charlottesville mayor Mike Signer condemned the torch-lit protest shortly afterwards, and he compared it to a KKK rally in a statement to the media.

“This event involving torches at night in Lee Park was either profoundly ignorant or was designed to instill fear in our minority populations in a way that hearkens back to the days of the KKK,” Signer said. “As mayor of this city, I want everyone to know this: we reject this intimidation. We are a welcoming city, but such intolerance is not welcome here.”

Spencer spoke to The Guardian after the protest, saying that the torches were “a way to communicate with the dead” and were not meant to be a throwback to the Klan.

[Image via Twitter / Allison Wrabel]

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