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White Supremacists Lead Charlottesville Rally to Defend Robert E. Lee Statue

White Supremacists Lead Charlottesville Rally to Defend Robert E. Lee Statue

Sunday, 14 May 2017 05:39 PM EDT

Several dozen demonstrators carrying torches gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia’s Lee Park over the weekend in the second of two gatherings to protest the city council’s decision to sell the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, the Charlottesville Daily Progress reported.

Following an altercation between protesters, police said they arrived at the scene and quickly dispersed the crowd without further incident.

In the first demonstration at the same place earlier in the day, white nationalist Richard Spencer, who popularized the term “alt-right,” addressed the crowd, saying “What brings us together is that we are white, we are a people, we will not be replaced,” The Washington Post reported. “You cannot destroy us. We have awoken. We are here. We are never going away.”

Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer condemned the protests, saying they were "either profoundly ignorant or 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 Hill reported.

Although the city council made the decision in April to sell the Lee statue, a judge earlier this month issued an injunction that prevents the municipality from doing so for six months.

The city’s decision has drawn opposition not only from white supremacists, but from others as well and has become an issue in the state’s gubernatorial race, with one of the candidates, Corey Stewart, protesting the move.

The demonstrations were condemned by the other four contenders for governor, but Stewart refused to comment on the issue, although there is no evidence he attended either rally, the Post reported.

Stewart has said that his defense of the Confederate symbols is not intended to promote symbols of hate, but to battle “political correctness” and “historical vandalism.”

In addition, the Monument Fund, a group of the plaintiffs who filed a lawsuit against the city's decision to sell the Lee statue on the basis that it violates a state law that protects war memorials, also came out against racism, saying they were not involved in the rallies and “remain committed to preserving the Robert E. Lee Monument in its park through the legal process in the courts because of its historic and artistic value, the Daily Progress reported. "We soundly and completely reject racism, white supremacy, and any other identity based groups that preach division and hate no matter which side of the issue they happen to support."

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Several dozen demonstrators carrying torches gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia’s Lee Park over the weekend in the second of two gatherings to protest the city council’s decision to sell the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, the Charlottesville Daily Progress reported.
robert e lee, statue, robert lee, charlottesville, rally, white supremacists
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2017-39-14
Sunday, 14 May 2017 05:39 PM
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