Last week, New Orleans removed the second of four Confederate statues as part of a move to dismantle Civil War-era relics across the South. Naturally, this has caused outrage among white supremacist/Nazi types like Richard Spencer, who led a torch-bearing mob in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday night to “save” a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The dude wasn’t subtle about making this look like a KKK-esque affair, for he purposely used a “torchlight” caption to broadcast his protest on Twitter.
Spencer, of course, is famous for being punched in the face and thrown out of CPAC, along with arguing that football should be abolished because it makes white people like black people. Although he reveled in the torch imagery, Jason Kessler (of the right-wing Daily Caller site) tried to paint with a subtler brush by calling this a “candlelit night march.” Nice try.
Charlottesville’s Daily Progress newspaper reported that police broke up a fight among protesters, although the overall atmosphere of the event was not violent. Instead, the group simply marched through Lee Park while spreading their message of intimidation, which included chants of “blood and soil” and (as seen in the below video from Allison Wrabel) “Russia is our friend.”
“Russia is our friend,” in Lee Park. pic.twitter.com/uNKMoKRegF
— Allison Wrabel (@craftypanda) May 14, 2017
Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer issued a statement to condemn those who protested the statue’s removal. He didn’t comment upon the bizarre “Russia” chant, but he denounced the use of torches (which he believes were purposely meant to evoke the KKK) and the overall message of the group:
“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.”