The tranquil college town of Charlottesville, Virginia became the site of more alt-right protests this weekend, leaving residents feeling as though they were under siege.
Hundreds of people showed up to the rally some to march in the “Unite the Right” event and others to protest it. The main bone of contention is the due to be removed statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee.
“People are angry, they’re scared, they’re hurt, they’re confused,” said the Rev. Seth Wispelwey of the local United Church of Christ. “White supremacists rallying in our town is an act of violence.”
Several hundred men and women bearing tiki torches marched on the main quadrangle of the University of Virginia’s campus Friday, yelling, “You will not replace us,” and “Jew will not replace us.”
As they came upon a group of counter protesters a brawl broke out and at least one person was taken away in cuffs by the police.
— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) August 12, 2017
There's a white supremacist rally going on an hour from where I live and i don't even know what to do with the anger inside me
— Kindred @CAB: N5 (@itskindred) August 12, 2017
The mayor of Charlottesville, Mike Signer, took to Facebook to condemn a “cowardly parade of hatred, bigotry, racism, and intolerance.”
“I am beyond disgusted by this unsanctioned and despicable display of visual intimidation on a college campus,” he went on.
City officials, as well as police, say they were ready for any possible unrest and the Virginia National Guard has stated that they would “closely monitor the situation.”
Counterdemonstrators such as religious leaders have been training in non-violent protest in preparation for this weekend and whatever comes next.
The march and protest have led to the University of Virginia Medical Center canceling all of their elective surgery.
“This whole thing feels like the prep to a Wild West shootout where the businesses shutter and the women shoo their children upstairs,” said Phillip Fassieux just a few blocks away from the Lee statue. “This isn’t the wild, wild West. This is modern-day Charlottesville, where we’re supposed to be better suited to engage with each other.”
These are legit scary assholes, but they'd be scarier if they didn't use citronella tiki torches they bought from Lowes. https://t.co/QL3p6ecCFA
— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) August 12, 2017
— shauna (@goldengateblond) August 12, 2017
"Just make sure Nazis NEVER march with tiki torches. I'm trying to save Germany, not Gilligan's Island." — Hitler's last words
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) August 12, 2017
— Nick Jack Pappas (@Pappiness) August 12, 2017
Jon Levine is calling for a complete and total shutdown of Pier One Imports until we can figure out what the hell is going on pic.twitter.com/JFQSkuI15L
— Jon Levine (@LevineJonathan) August 12, 2017