Torch-wielding group protests Confederate statue removal

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — A torch-wielding group including a prominent white nationalist has protested against plans to remove a Confederate monument in Virginia.

Local media outlets report that the group rallied around the statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville on Saturday night.

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.

Mayor Mike Signer called the protest either “profoundly ignorant” in a statement.

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. 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.

The Daily Progress reports that Charlottesville Republican Party Chairman Erich Reimer also denounced the group’s actions in a statement.

Whoever these people were, the intolerance and hatred they seek to promote is utterly disgusting and disturbing beyond words.

This is a time for our community to come together on our common values of liberty, equality, and justice for all, in stark contrast to them.

The Daily Progress reporter Allison Wrabel tweeted videos of the group chanting “Russia is our friend,” and “You will not replace us.”