Richard Spencer Leads Torch-Carrying White Nationalists' Protest in Charlottesville, Va.

A group of white nationalists carried torches Saturday night in Charlottesville, Virginia while protesting the planned removal of Confederate statues in the city -- an incident that has provoked anger and frustration from politicians and activists.

A group of white nationalists carried torches Saturday night in Charlottesville, Virginia while protesting the planned removal of Confederate statues in the city -- an incident that has provoked anger and frustration from politicians and activists.

 

The torch wielders -- reported to be several dozen by local paper Daily Progress -- were reacting to a November 28 city council vote to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee at Charlottesville’s Lee Park, the public space where the protest took place Saturday.

 

A court injunction has halted the removal of the statue for six months, but that didn't stop the protesters, led by avowed white nationalist Richard Spencer, from reportedly chanting slogans like "we will not be replaced," “Russia is our friend” and “blood and soil ” at the site of the statue.

 

Mike Signer, the mayor of Charlottesville, expressed his disgust with Saturday's protest in an interview with ABC News.

 

"I think it's horrific," he said of the protests. "We're a city that proudly values our diversity."

Caroline Cournoyer is GOVERNING's senior web editor.