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Mayor of Virginia city targeted by anti-Semitic tweets after criticizing marchers

Protesters held a torchlit demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia on 13 May 2017, in opposition to the planned removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee from a local municipal park.

Charlottesville's city council voted in April to remove the statue of Lee, who led the Confederate army of northern Virginia in the South's fight to secede from the union and retain slaves in the late 19th century. Dozens of protesters also brought bamboo tiki torches to a second rally once it became dark out.

The Daily Progress reporter Allison Wrabel tweeted videos of the group chanting "Russia is our friend", and "You will not replace us". Police confirmed several verbal confrontations between protesters and counterprotesters, and the crowd dispersed after approximately 10 minutes. "You will not destroy us", Spencer said during a rally earlier in the day Saturday the Post reported. But for some observers, they evoked "the days of the KKK," in the words of Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer.

"I want everyone to know this: We reject this intimidation", Signer said in a statement. "We're a city that proudly values our diversity". The mayor denounced the gathering, saying it was reminiscent of those held by Ku Klux Klan.

As previously reported in Wear Your Voice, Spencer - who is also the director of National Policy Institute - is credited with coining the controversial term "alt-right", a concept that catalyzed an entire right-wing movement that's ostensibly in the business of "making America white again".

On Sunday, May 14, the day after the torch-lit event, people gathered at the same location to counter protest the previous day's rally.

"You will not replace us", the protestors shouted in unison on Saturday.

"I think for me, it's the right choice to say: 'Enough is enough, '" he said.

Despite the fact that the park itself was initially given to the city by Paul McIntire in 1917 on the condition that it be home to a statue of General Robert E. Lee, city officials chose to have it removed.

Charlottesville's mayor, who is Jewish, told Reuters he has been targeted by anti-Semitic tweets after speaking out against the protesters.

The neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer called Spencer's protest a "glorious torchlight procession" and the day of hard-right activism "an impressive showing for our side!"

House Minority Leader Toscano joined in on Twitter: "Outrageous protests in Charlottesville this evening by apparent white supremacists".

In a statement, the Sons of Confederate Veterans called the statue's removal a "catastrophe", and part of an "ISIS-like effort to erase history and culture".

After police announced the park closed at 10pm and participants were leaving, Kessler, 33, was arrested, as was Charles William Best, 21, for assaulting law enforcement, a felony, and Jordan McNeish, 28, for disorderly conduct for spitting on Kessler, according to WINA.

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