Hundreds of tiki torch-bearing white nationalists marched through the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville, Virginia, Friday night in advance of a larger "Unite the Right" demonstration scheduled Saturday. The marchers chanted slogans like "you will not replace us," "Jews will not replace us," and "blood and soil," the latter a phrase used by the Nazi Party.
— John Gushue (@JohnGushue) August 12, 2017
This was the scene as the alt-right marched on the Rotunda at UVA this evening. A chilling scene pic.twitter.com/dgDMGK03Xo
— Katie Couric (@katiecouric) August 12, 2017
Saturday's rally is expected to attract several thousand, plus a heavy contingent of counter-protesters. White nationalists, including members of the Ku Klux Klan, have rallied repeatedly in Charlottesville this year since the city began the process of removing Confederate statues from public land.
"People are scared" there could be violence at Saturday's demonstrations, Brittany Caine-Conley, a member of Charlottesville's Sojourners United Church of Christ, told The Washington Post. "They are becoming more aware of the magnitude of this event and more aware of the violence that is done by the alt-right. And so people are anxious and afraid."
Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer condemned this weekend's gathering as "a cowardly parade of hatred, bigotry, racism, and intolerance march[ing] down the lawns of the architect of our Bill of Rights." "Everyone has a right under the First Amendment to express their opinion peaceably," he added, "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." Bonnie Kristian