A group of more than 40 white nationalists on Saturday night returned to Emancipation Park in Charlottesville, Virginia, nearly two months after protests there erupted in violence over the removal of a Confederate statue.
The city’s plan to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, which has been hindered by court challenges, led to a larger “Unite the Right” demonstration in August by people affiliated with the so-called “alt-right” and neo-Nazi groups.
One person died on Aug. 12 after being struck by a car that plowed through a crowd of counter-demonstrators. James Alex Fields Jr., a 20-year-old from Ohio, was charged with second-degree murder in the incident. Two members of the Virginia State Police who were monitoring the protests were also killed after their helicopter crashed nearby.
On Saturday night, several dozen people with ties to the so-called “alt-right” met again at the park where the statue now sits covered, some carrying tiki torches. The group, led by self-described “alt-right” leader and white nationalist Richard Spencer, met for about 15 minutes chanting, “You will not replace us.”
Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer condemned the march on Twitter as, “another despicable visit by neo-Nazi cowards.”
Another despicable visit by neo-Nazi cowards. You’re not welcome here! Go home! Meantime we’re looking at all our legal options. Stay tuned.
— Mike Signer (@MikeSigner) October 8, 2017
The city’s vice-mayor, Wes Bellamy, said it was “clear that these white supremacists are using torches, fire, and hate speech to intimidate our citizens. That’s a crime.”