Dozens of torch-wielding hate-mongers flocked to a Confederate statue in Charlottesville, Va., for the first time since a neo-Nazi’s deadly attack on protesters in August.
The group, led by far-right extremist Richard Spencer, sported white-collared polo shirts and slacks while they briefly surrounded a statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee in Emancipation Park, near the University of Virginia campus, around 8 p.m. Saturday.
The Civil War memorial has been cloaked by a black tarp since mid-September and is slated for removal.
“We are here to represent white America’s interests,” one member of the group shouted over a loudspeaker.
The hateful group’s mouthpiece, who was not immediately identified, jeered what he described as anti-white policies and rhetoric, assailing right-wing pols for not standing by their cause.
“The right wing establishment refuses to stick up for their own people, their own voters,” he shouted.
He denounced Charlottesville’s plans to remove the Confederate statue, a decision prompted by a similar torchlit march through the UVA campus in August. The next day, a neo-Nazi plowed a sports car through throngs of peaceful protesters, killing paralegal Heather Heyer.
This is the third visit followers of UVA alum Spencer have made in the college town since May — when a group of chanting men with torches shouted, “Russia is our friend.”
“We came, we triggered, we left. We did an in-and-out flash mob,” Spencer said in a Twitter video after Saturday’s rally. “We’re going to do it again.”
Spencer’s latest protest in the former Lee Park was his followers’ smallest and shortest yet.
Charlottesville police counted fewer than 50 attendees at the display, which lasted less than 10 minutes. The group, including Spencer, then boarded a chartered bus. Police followed the bus out of Charlottesville “to ensure that the group was leaving the city,” officials said.
Mayor Mike Signer suggested he would take legal action to prevent another hate-spouting rally at the park.
“Another despicable visit by neo-Nazi cowards,” the mayor tweeted. “You’re not welcome here! Go home! Meantime we’re looking at all our legal options. Stay tuned.”
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Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said, “we continue to oppose these racists and their message of hate.”
Ralph Northam, the state’s lieutenant governor and Democratic candidate to replace McAuliff, challenged his Trump-endorsed opponent, Ed Gillespie, to put a stop to Spencer’s antics “the next time you talk to Trump.”
“Tell him we’re sick of this here in Virginia,” Northam tweeted.
In a statement, Northam blamed President Trump for allowing racism to flourish.
“Donald Trump’s equivocation enabled this to happen again, and Ed Gillespie failed to call on the leader of his party to denounce neo-Nazis and white supremacists,” Northam said. “There can be no ambiguity from any elected official. White supremacists are not welcome, and they will not win.”