RSN Fundraising Banner
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment

Wilson writes: "Hundreds of far-right demonstrators wielded torches as they marched on to the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville on Friday night and reportedly attacked a much smaller group of counter-protesters who had linked arms around a statue of Thomas Jefferson."

The Unite the Right march on the University of Virginia campus. (photo: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
The Unite the Right march on the University of Virginia campus. (photo: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Torch-Bearing White Nationalists Attack Counter-Protesters Ahead of Alt-Right Rally in Charlottesville, Virginia

By Jason Wilson, Guardian UK

12 August 17

People gathering to oppose Unite the Right demonstration say they were hit with pepper spray and lighter fluid in clash on University of Virginia campus

undreds of far-right demonstrators wielded torches as they marched on to the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville on Friday night and reportedly attacked a much smaller group of counter-protesters who had linked arms around a statue of Thomas Jefferson.

Starting at a municipal park less than a mile away, “alt-right” protesters who have gathered for the weekend Unite the Right rally marched in a long column over the short distance to the campus, chanting slogans like “You will not replace us” and “Blood and soil”.

When the marchers reached and surrounded the counter-protesters there was a short verbal confrontation. Counter-protesters claimed they were then attacked with swung torches, pepper spray and lighter fluid.

Emily Gorcenski, who shared several live videos of the event, was among the protesters who said they were hit with the mace spray. “[They] completely surrounded us and wouldn’t let us out.”

She said police did not intervene until long after the rightwing marchers had struck out at protesters. “I saw hundreds of people chanting Nazi slogans and police do nothing.”

The Washington Post reported that at least one counter-demonstrator used a chemical spray, affecting a number of protesters.

Charlottesville police did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

Two male protesters who said they were also maced, and did not wish to be named, described far-right protesters moving from verbal abuse, to pushing and shoving protesters, to the noxious spray.

“Someone from the alt right maced me right in the face – unprovoked,” said one. “After they maced people they started punching people and hitting them with torches.” Several protesters said a woman using a wheelchair was among those sprayed.

Just up the street from the fracas, a community prayer meeting was held in St Paul’s memorial church, addressed by several preachers including prominent civil rights leader Dr Cornel West. The end of the service overlapped with the torch parade and many people waited for long periods before leaving citing safety concerns.

In an interview, West said: “The crypto-fascists, the neofascists, the neo-Nazis now feel so empowered, not just by Trump but by the whole shift in the nation towards scapegoats.

“I don’t like this talk about ‘alt-right’, that’s an unnecessary abstraction. These are neofascists in contemporary garb.”

On Saturday the small college city will face down a full scale Unite the Right rally, which is predicted to be the country’s largest in a decade.

Far-right monitoring groups estimate that between 500 and 1,000 people and 30 prominent speakers and groups will descend on the downtown area for the Saturday afternoon event, organised by local rightwing activist and former Daily Caller writer Jason Kessler. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+4 # VoxFox 2017-08-12 09:37
This is what happens when the losers of a warlike action (the Civil War) do not suffer enough and learn their lesson, like defeated Germany and Japan after WW-II.
The racist society of Virginia needs to be punished. Stupid people only learn by force.
0 # Texas Aggie 2017-08-12 10:33
Not even then.

"Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain." Schiller
+5 # kyzipster 2017-08-12 11:45
Charlottesville has a majority liberal voting population as do almost all urban areas in the south and smaller college towns. It was targeted for this rally because the city is removing a Civil War monument. These white nationalist a-holes come from all over the country.

They picked a very small town in my state for a rally earlier this year, few who showed up in support were local people. A county in Appalachia with a mostly white population that voted for Trump. The significant counter-protest was the real voice of the local population.

I think it's simplistic to see this as a reflection of Virginia. I'm sure there is no shortage of racists in that state but if you look at the 'hate map' published by the Southern Poverty Law Center on their website, hate groups are hardly limited to the South. Very large concentrations on the East and West coasts.

As always, I suspect there will be a counter-protest that will match or exceed the hate groups.
+1 # ReconFire 2017-08-12 21:38
Exactly, my understanding is a large group of the hate mongers came from Detroit.
+1 # Glen 2017-08-12 13:46
Vox, you obviously are not aware of the suffering in the South, both during and after the war. Dig deep for historical information, not to mention the true reasons for the war. Also, Virginia is not the only state with racists and bigots. Part of the continuing bitterness has to do with the punishment heaped on the South. Consider the Middle East and similar. They will NEVER recover from the killing and war and the bitterness will appear in all manner of resistance.

Take a little walk out west to continue your research on rebels and racists.
+4 # chrisconno 2017-08-12 10:08
These certainly do have a striking resemblance to the first of the Nazi take over of our youth and the cruel mindless adults. When are they going to openly all give Trump the Nazi salute while he gleams at the podium?
+3 # DudeistPriest 2017-08-12 12:05
it's only the beginning, things will get uglier. Trump empowered the degenerates, and they will have to be beaten and crushed sooner or later.
0 # Kootenay Coyote 2017-08-12 13:55
SA Brownshirts redividi. When’s Krystallnacht?? It’ll be in the ghetto again for sure; only the black one this time….
+6 # HStone 2017-08-12 14:56
Sooner or later it will become necessary to consider the interests of ALL human beings living in America. This demonstration is a hint that democracy has broken down, and government by Big Money is in control.
0 # babaregi 2017-08-12 21:07
Different story:
+1 # relegn 2017-08-13 06:36
This is what you can expect from some of those who support d. trump and the right wing wealthy in this administration. They represent clearly what trump's administration stands for.

THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.