Violence erupted last night and early this morning at the University of Virginia where Neo-Nazi demonstrators and counter protesters clashed, causing the city of Charlottesville to declare a state of emergency.
The “Unite the Right” rally — planned for Saturday — was to protest the city’s decision to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from the park. Neo-Nazis, neo-Confederates and alt-right activists came out for the rally, descending on the park as early as last night wielding torches.
Chants of “You will not replace us!” and “Blood and soil!” filled the air. Also, “Fuck you faggots” was one of their chants as well, as video below shows.
— Christopher Mathias (@letsgomathias) August 12, 2017
“Unite the Right was expected to draw a broad spectrum of far-right extremist groups – from immigration foes to anti-Semitic bigots, neo-Confederates, Proud Boys, Patriot and militia types, outlaw bikers, swastika-wearing neo-Nazis, white nationalists and Ku Klux Klan members – all of whom seem emboldened by the Trump presidency,” according to the U.S. nonprofit Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
Counter protesters were there as well. “Love has already won. We have already won,” they responded.
A large group of counter-protesters wore black shirts and masks and carried shields, yelling to the white nationalists: “We have replaced you. Strong, united, interracial crew.”
— Ins3curity (@Ins3curityTrash) August 12, 2017
Many officials in Charlottesville and at the University of Virginia have spoken out against the violence that happened there last night and this morning.
“I am deeply saddened and disturbed by the hateful behavior displayed by torch-bearing protesters that marched on our grounds this evening,” University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan said in a statement. “I strongly condemn the unprovoked assault on members of our community, including university personnel who were attempting to maintain order.”
“The violence displayed on the grounds is intolerable and is entirely inconsistent with the university’s values,” Sullivan added.
— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) August 12, 2017
Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer called the demonstration a “cowardly parade of hatred, bigotry, racism and intolerance.”
He added: “Everyone has a right under the First Amendment to express their opinion peaceably, so here’s mine: Not only as the Mayor of Charlottesville, but as a UVA faculty member and alumnus, I am beyond disgusted by this unsanctioned and despicable display of visual intimidation on a college campus.”
Rep. Don Beyer, D-Virginia, tweeted Saturday morning that “white supremacists chanting Nazi slogans aren’t Virginia or America. They are weak, ignorant, fearful people with citronella tiki torches.”
President Donald Trump has yet to make any statement regarding the violence. Many are perceiving his silence on the hateful rhetoric and violence as permission for it to continue.
— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) August 12, 2017
Guess who will not be condemning the white supremacist rally in #Charlottesville
— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) August 12, 2017
Here are some tweets responding to the violence:
Why are these white supremacists allowed to carry weapons and attack people on a college campus in 2017!?!? Unbelievable. #Charlottesville
— Douglas Booth (@DouglasBooth) August 12, 2017
Overheard: One guy saying "this makes me feel like going home and putting my robe on." And I don't think he's a judge. #Charlottesville
— Katie Couric (@katiecouric) August 12, 2017
My mother decided to leave Russia bc there were rumors of a pogrom. She's watching #Charlottesville in utter horror.
— Julia Ioffe (@juliaioffe) August 12, 2017
The Black Lives Matter protest were more peaceful & didn't carry guns #Charlottesville guns/torches,yet BLM are the terrorist to Alt-right.
— ❄Sarah Joan (@By_SJD) August 12, 2017