Far right protesters chanting ‘white lives matter’ and the Nazi-linked chant ‘blood and soil’ came out in their hundreds and paraded through the University of Virginia campus ahead of a scheduled march in 2017.
The Hill reports that police who arrived at the scene declared the protest an “unlawful assembly”.
Far right protestors from around the country gathered for a ‘Unite the Right’ rally, which took place near the statue of Confederate General Robert E Lee in Charlottesville.
A federal judge okayed that event.
The group protested the city’s decision to remove the statue. They also wished to assert themselves as a movement – based on the belief that they’re being persecuted for being white, and that white history is being erased in the US, The Washington Post reports.
People on Twitter were understandably appalled by the turn of events:
Many blamed President Donald Trump…
Others however, pointed out the screaming double-standard at work here...
In fact, this image sums it up pretty succinctly:
The left image depicts a man throwing up the 'Ku Klux Klan hand sign' or 'sieg heil' Nazi salute during the University of Virginia far right rally. While the right image depicts police officers arresting a man near Baltimore, Maryland during a protest over the death of Freddie Gray, who died in police custody.
You can watch at least two men performing the salture in footage shot at the scene by Alex Rubinstein - They can be seen just after the one minute mark:
In response to the protest, Mayor Mike Signer said in a statement:
I have seen tonight the images of torches on the Grounds of the University of Virginia. When I think of torches, I want to think of the Statue of liberty. I want to think of candlelight, I want to think of prayer vigils. Today, in 2017, we are instead seeing a cowardly parade of hatred, bigotry, racism and intolerance march down the lawns of the architect of our Bill of Rights.
I am beyond disgusted by this unsanctioned and despicable display of visual intimidation on a college campus.
Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe even placed National Guard members on standby, and encouraged people to stay away:
Thousands of protesters attended the rally.