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The University of Virginia held a secret post-Charlottesville vigil, and thousands showed up

Instead of Tiki torches, the thousands of marchers who gathered at the University of Virginia on Wednesday night held candles in upside-down cups, passing the flame around like you might see at an Easter vigil.

They chanted "love wins" instead of "Jews will not replace us!"

And they sang, "The Star-Spangled Banner," "God Bless America," "We Shall Overcome," and also "Amazing Grace," a song written by a former slave-ship captain after he came to see that slavery is evil.

Organizers of the event, which also paid respects to the three people who died during the "Unite the Right" melee in Charlottesville on Saturday — anti-racism protester Heather Heyer and Virginia State Police troopers H. Jay Cullen and Berke M.M. Bates — said they spread the word through text message, phone calls, and word of mouth, intentionally keeping it off social media so as not to attract any disruptive groups. Participants called it cathartic. "I have struggled to let go of my anger over what was done to us last weekend," tweeted UVA Dean of Students Allen Grove, "but seeing 5,000 of my fellow citizens tonight sure helped."

The University of Virginia also made it clear which of the two marches, each following the same route, it wanted to claim as its own. Peter Weber