Torch-wielding group protests Confederate statue removal

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — A torch-wielding group including a prominent white nationalist has protested against plans to remove a Confederate monument in Virginia.

Local media outlets report that the group rallied around the statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville on Saturday night.

Among those there was Richard Spencer, who popularized the phrase “alt-right.” Spencer spoke at an earlier Charlottesville rally Saturday and tweeted a picture of himself holding a torch at the night protest.

Mayor Mike Signer called the protest either “profoundly ignorant” or aimed at instilling fear in “minority populations in a way that hearkens back to the days of the KKK.”

The Daily Progress reports that Charlottesville Republican Party Chairman Erich Reimer said the group’s promotion of “intolerance and hatred” is “utterly disgusting and disturbing beyond words.”