White nationalists gather for another torchlit rally at Lee statue

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Saturday evening University alumnus Richard Spencer returned to Charlottesville with a group of white supremacists for a torchlit rally at Emancipation Park that they dubbed “Charlottesville 3.0.”  

Courtesy Matt Talhelm / NBC 29

A group of about three dozen white nationalists gathered in Emancipation Park Saturday night carrying tiki torches as a part of a rally they’ve named “Charlottesville 3.0.” 

The rally was held in front of the park’s statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, which has been a source of controversy in recent months after the Charlottesville City Council voted to remove it earlier this year. However, the city has been unable to remove the statue due to an ongoing lawsuit and has since installed a black covering over it. 

Prominent white nationalist and University alumnus Richard Spencer was in attendance and live-streamed the rally from his Twitter page. 

“We’ll be back, don’t worry sweetheart,” Spencer said. You’re covering up the statue of a great hero.”

The group remained in Emancipation Park for about 20 minutes with various people speaking and chanting, “You will not replace us!” and “We will be back!” The group left the park shortly after 8 p.m.

The rally comes about two months after white nationalists held a torchlit march through Grounds and the deadly “Unite the Right” rally, which ultimately left three people dead and numerous injured. 

Saturday evening’s rally in Emancipation Park was similar to another torchlit white nationalist gathering held at the same park in May, which Spencer also attended. 

Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer tweeted Saturday that “another despicable visit” was held by “Neo-Nazi cowards” who are “not welcome” in Charlottesville.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam also released a statement regarding Saturday night’s events.

“There is no home, no place and no safe harbor in the country I pledged to defend for the ugly hatred we saw in Charlottesville tonight,” the statement said. “There can be no ambiguity from any elected official: white supremacists are not welcome, and they will not win.”

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