Protesters Answer Rally of White Nationalists in Charlottesville

May 15, 2017

Three people were arrested Sunday night after a mostly peaceful protest in downtown Charlottesville turned momentarily violent, spilling out into the streets.  WMRA's Jordy Yager reports.

At sundown, nearly 300 people gathered in Lee Park to protest a group of about 75 alt-right white nationalists in town the night before.

The white nationalists, led by Richard Spencer, garnered international attention after a picture of the group holding torches in front of a Robert E. Lee statue went viral. The image was reminiscent of Ku Klux Klan rallies.

On Sunday night, a large sheet was draped across Lee’s statue, reading: Black Lives Matter. The hundreds of supporters held candles and flashlights as several activists and the city’s vice-mayor Wes Bellamy spoke.

WES BELLAMY: And now the question to all of you, my brothers and sisters, is what are you going to do about it. (Fight back.) If that is what you plan to do, if that is, then you can no longer stand idle, turn a blind eye, not attend the meetings, not mobilize with the different groups, decide to be silent, or stand on the sideline because you feel as if this is not your fight. (Show up, speak out.) Those days are over.

Earlier this year, City Council voted to remove the Lee statue and rename the park. Those efforts have been blocked by a lawsuit, which has drawn the support of white nationalists.