“Unite the Right” is the name of a demonstration taking place on Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia. (It’s being live-streamed in the video at the end of this article.) On Friday night, alt-right and nationalist protesters gathered at the campus of the University of Virginia after a federal judge ruled earlier that day that the event could take place.
Their opposing organization, known as the “Antifa”, showed up to protest the protesters, which resulted in clashes between marchers, protesters and police.
In response to the violence, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, decided to place National Guard members on standby, and encourage Virginians to stay away from Saturday’s event.
“Men and women from state and local agencies will be in Charlottesville [on Saturday] to keep the public safe,” McAuliffe said in a statement, “and their job will be made easier if Virginians, no matter how well-meaning, elect to stay away from the areas where this rally will take place.”
Hundreds of protesters holding torches marched through the campus in an apparent lead-up to the Saturday demonstration, which will protest Charlottesville’s decision to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
After the city council voted in May to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from Charlottesville’s Lee Park, the decision sparked outrage with some members of the community. Back then, a group of protesters reportedly showed up with torches in hand, saying that “white people” across the country recognize that “a war” of symbolism is under way, and they don’t want the monument removed because it is part of American history.
Photos and video of the protests posted on social media Friday showed demonstrators marching through dark walkways, chanting slogans like “white lives matter” and “you will not replace us.”
Police arriving on the scene declared the protest on Friday an “unlawful assembly” and told demonstrators to disperse, video footage of the gathering shows.
The Antifa were also chanting their own slogan: “black lives matter.”
— Tim Dodson (@Tim_Dodson) August 12, 2017
Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer condemned the protest in a statement, calling the gathering “a cowardly parade of hatred, bigotry, racism, and intolerance.”
“Everyone has a right under the First Amendment to express their opinion peaceably, so here’s mine: not only as the Mayor of Charlottesville, but as a UVA faculty member and alumnus, I am beyond disgusted by this unsanctioned and despicable display of visual intimidation on a college campus,” he said, ironically forgetting that these sorts of demonstrations take place on college campuses all the time, but they’re usually led by the leftist Antifa and Black Lives Matter organizations.
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