Counter Protest in Charlottesville to "Take Back Lee Park" Follows Alt-Right Rally

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. 


At sundown Sunday, 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. 


"Because as fingers we can do some things. But as fists, we can knock the final blow to white supremacy," Bellamy said to cheers.  "If you’re about that my brothers, sister, if you’re about fighting, standing up, if you’re about showing up, if you’re about closing racial and inequity gaps, if you’re about doing what you must for your fellow brother and sister, then all I need to hear is one thing: Power to the people."

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.   Image from Saturday's alt right rally: 

Charlottesville's mayor responds:

Video from Sunday night's counter-protest:

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association