White supremacists carrying Tiki torches rallied again on Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia, but in numbers far smaller than during the turbulent August demonstration that left a young counter-protester dead. Charlottesville police said in a statement that the rally drew no more than 50 people and lasted five to 10 minutes; they reported “no disorders.” Officers followed the marchers after they boarded a bus “to ensure that the group was leaving the city,” the statement said.
Richard Spencer, who led the August march that sparked a weekend of clashes, addressed the group on Saturday. He later posted a 20-minute video on Twitter showing him carrying a torch as he led the procession. It showed the group chanting “You will not replace us” – a chant that during the August protest morphed into “Jews will not replace us.”
That earlier protest quickly turned chaotic. A 32-year-old woman was killed when a car plowed into counter-protesters, and two police officers died in a helicopter crash.
The group had first marched in Charlottesville in May, and its leaders vowed Saturday to come again. It opposes city plans to remove the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, a hero to white supremacists. “We wanted to prove that we came in peace in May, we came in peace in August, and we come again in peace,” Spencer told the Washington Post.
But Mayor Mike Signer, a fervent critic of the group, denounced the protest, tweeting: “Another despicable visit by neo-Nazi cowards. You’re not welcome here! Go home!” Signer, a Democrat, favors removal of the Lee statue and has urged legislators to pass laws to allow localities to suspend some of Virginia’s liberal gun laws.