White nationalists carry torches to protest removal of confederate statue in Virginia

Posted at 8:59 AM, May 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-15 11:59:57-04

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) -- A group that included a well-known white nationalist carried torches and chanted "you will not replace us" at a weekend protest in Virginia over plans to remove a monument of a Confederate general.

The Daily Progress reportedc that protesters called on officials to halt the removal of a Gen. Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville and were swiftly condemned by the city's mayor, who said the event appeared to hearken "back to the days of the KKK."

Among those at the protest were Richard Spencer, a while nationalist who popularized the phrase "alt-right" and is a leading figure in a fringe movement that has been described as a mix of racism, white nationalism and populism.

The debate over Confederate symbols has swept through cities across the South since the 2015 massacre of nine black parishioners at a South Carolina church. The gunman was a self-avowed white supremacist.