Torch-wielding protestors decry plan to remove Confederate monument

By Brooks Hays  |  Updated May 14, 2017 at 9:23 PM
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May 14 (UPI) -- White nationalist Richard Spencer led a group of torch-carrying protesters in chants decrying plans to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Va.

"You will not replace us," the protestors shouted in unison on Saturday.

They also chanted, "Russia is our friend."

"What brings us together is that we are white, we are a people, we will not be replaced," Spencer said at the second of two protest rallies.

Spencer, who coined the term "alt-right" and became a national figure during Donal Trump's presidential campaign, graduated from the University of Virginia in 2001.

Spencer wasn't the only one to speak at Saturday's rallies.

"We're not white supremacists. We are simply just white people that love our heritage, our culture, our European identity," protester Orry Von Dize told an audience gathered at Jackson Park.

The group clashed with supporters of the city council's vote to remove the Confederate memorial. Police were called to the park and the protests ended without an arrest.

Mike Signer, the mayor of Charlottesville, where the University of Virginia's main campus is located, expressed disgust at the protests.

"I think it's horrific," he said. "It's always a balance about how much oxygen you want to give these alt-right bigots.

"It's important to say that these were just Tiki torches. Based upon what I'm seeing online, the people involved in this have a juvenile mentality and are beneath our contempt."

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