White nationalist rally at University of Virginia

Hundreds of US white nationalists have rallied at the University of Virginia on August 12, protesting against plans to remove a statue of a confederate general, BBC reports.

The group waved torches and chanted “White lives matter” as they marched through the Charlottesville university. There were clashes with counter-protesters, while the local mayor condemned the march as racist and a “parade of hatred”. The protesters are angered at the planned removal of a statue of General Robert E Lee from Charlottesville. Lee commanded forces of the pro-slavery Confederacy in the US Civil War. The New York Times and Washington Post reported that the crowd chanted “You will not replace us” and “Jew will not replace us” during the event. Demonstrators held lit torches – which some observers described as a reference to the Ku Klux Klan – and chanted “blood and soil” and “one people, one nation, end immigration”.

The rally was met by a smaller group of counter protesters who had surrounded the university’s statue of Thomas Jefferson, holding a banner that read “VA Students Act Against White Supremacy”.

The protest was criticized by many local residents and politicians. Charlottesville mayor Mike Signer called the march “a cowardly parade of hatred, bigotry, racism and intolerance”.

A woman was killed on Saturday when a car rammed into a crowd protesting against the rally in Charlottesville.

Separately, a rally organizer was chased away by protesters as he tried to give a press conference on Sunday.

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