Alt-Right Torch-Wielders Protest at Robert E. Lee Statue
To chants of 'You will not replace us,' 'Russia is our friend'
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted May 14, 2017 11:39 AM CDT
The faint outlines of the phrase "Black Lives Matter" remain on the statue of Robert E. Lee after it was vandalized at Lee Park in Charlottesville, Va., Tuesday, June 30, 2015.   (Bryan McKenzie/The Daily Progress via AP)
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(Newser) – "What brings us together is that we are white, we are a people, we will not be replaced," intoned Richard Spencer, the man who coined the term "alt-right," at rallies Saturday near a contentious statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Va. As the Daily Progress reports, the second rally was attended by several dozen protesters carrying torches and chanting, "Russia is our friend," "you will not replace us," and "blood and soil." Police broke up that protest within about 10 minutes after an altercation broke out; Spencer tweeted a photo of himself from the scene, captioned simply "#torchlight." At issue: The city of Charlottesville's decision to sell the statue of Lee, though a judge has since ordered an injunction preventing any sale for six months.

The town is familiar ground for Spencer, who the Washington Post notes attended the University of Virginia. The protests were attacked by Virginia gubernatorial candidate Tom Perriello, who started a back-and-forth when he tweeted, "Get your white supremacist hate out of my hometown." "We won, you lost, little Tommy," retorted Spencer. "Actually, you lost," responded Perriello. "In 1865. 150 years later, you’re still not over it." The Post notes that Perriello's GOP rival, Corey Stewart, has been a staunch defender of the Lee statue, though he was not confirmed to be part of the protests.

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