Torch-wielding group protests Confederate statue removal
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WSET) -- A torch-wielding group including a prominent white nationalist has protested against plans to remove a Confederate monument in Charlottesville.
According to the Daily Progress, the protesters were carrying torches around 9 p.m. Saturday, chanting "You will not replace us," "Russia is our friend," and "Blood and soil."
Among those there was Richard Spencer, who popularized the phrase "alt-right." Spencer spoke at an earlier Charlottesville rally Saturday and tweeted a picture of himself holding a torch at the night protest.
After about 10 minutes, Charlottesville police arrived at the scene following an altercation between protesters.
In a statement, Charlottesville mayor Mike Signer said, "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 added, "Either way, 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."
Charlottesville Delegate David J. Toscano on Twitter, called the “outrageous protests in Charlottesville this evening by apparent white supremacists” unacceptable.
The Daily Progress reports the crowd quickly dispersed once police arrived.
The protest comes ahead of Monday's Charlottesville City Council meeting, where councilors are expected to decide the remaining recommendations from the Blue Ribbon Commission.