Less than two months after the notorious “Unite the Right” rally sparked violence in the city of Charlottesville, Virginia, tiki torch wielding white nationalists, led by white supremacist spokesman, Richard Spencer, returned once more to the city they had terrorized back in August, declaring “We said we would be back.”
This time, employing what Spencer referred to as a “flash mob” style approach, the collection of alt-right members marched from the streets of the city to Emancipation Park, chanting slogans like “you will not replace us,” “the south will rise again,” and “Russia is our friend.” You may remember that Emancipation Park, which had previously been known as Lee Park, was the site of violence during the previous rally and the cause of considerable controversy, as it contains a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
According to an article this morning in the New York Times, this rally was much more sparsely attended than the original, with about 40 to 50 mostly white, male alt-right members congregating in the park for about 10 minutes before boarding a bus and continuing on their merry way. The rally in August, if you recall, drew hundreds of white nationalists, including members of the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazi groups. They clashed with counter protesters over a two day period, the violence surging to the point that one young woman, Heather Heyer, was murdered when white supremacist, James Alex Fields, Jr. deliberately drove his car into a crowd.
Interestingly, local Charlottesville NBC channel, NBC29, set off quite a bit of Twitter outrage when they released a tweet referring to the white nationalists as “white activists.” They later deleted that tweet and they replaced it with one that attempted to correct the mistake. This stands in stark contrast, however, to a recent report in Newsweek detailing the FBI’s decision to label minority groups like Black Lives Matter as a “violent threat” and begin referring to them as “black identity extremists.” More than one commentator on Twitter was happy to point out the disparity.
Richard Spencer, for his part, has taken to Twitter to pat himself and his followers on the back for a job well done and to taunt the city’s mayor, Mike Signer. Signer, in a tweet, had referred to Spencer and his crew as “cowards,” told them they were not welcome in Charlottesville and that the city would be looking into its legal options to keep the white nationalists from returning. Spencer shot back by asking how he and his group could be cowards when they had returned to the site of their previous rally. He then released a video of himself declaring the rally a rousing success and another tweet with a bit of an ominous warning for the future.
It appears that Spencer and the loose collection of racists, white supremacists, and western chauvinists known as the alt-right are not yet finished with the city of Charlottesville. Of course, counter protesters, like the Black Lives Matters members who congregated later in the evening, appear ready and willing to meet them head on.
[Featured Image by David J. Phillip/AP Images]