White nationalists return to Virginia for 'Charlottesville 3.0'

White nationalists return to Virginia for 'Charlottesville 3.0'

White nationalist protesters have returned to Charlottesville, Virginia, less than two months after one person died when a car ploughed into a group of anti-racism protesters at a similar white supremacist rally.

Clashes erupted in August as white supremacists protesting against plans to remove the statue of Confederate General Robert E Lee were challenged by counter-demonstrators.

The group, which included local right-wing blogger Jason Kessler and high-profile 'alt-right' personality Richard Spencer, was decried as white supremacists by both Republicans and Democrats, and as "Nazis" by Virginia's governor.

President Donald Trump's reaction to the clashes — where he condemned hatred and violence on 'many sides' — attracted ire from both sides of politics.

On Saturday a smaller group returned to Emancipation Park, where the statue of Robert E Lee was covered a week after the protests.

NBC reported there were around 30 supporters in the park, surrounding the covered statue.

Social media video showed the demonstrators — mostly white men — holding torches and chanting "we will be back."

Reminiscent of earlier protests, marchers held blazing torches and shouted "unite the right" and "you will not replace us."

Mr Spencer live-streamed much of the protest, and hailed what he called "Charlottesville 3.0" a "great success" and "a lot of fun."

"We care about our heritage, we care about who we are, not just as Virginians, not just as Southerners, but as white people," he said in a live-streamed video.

No violence was reported at the event.

"We came, we triggered, we left, we did an in-and-out flash mob," Mr Spencer said after the event.

"We demonstrated that we came in peace in May, we came in peace in July, we were badly mistreated and we came in peace tonight. It was a great success and we're going to do it again."

He was referring to a torch-wielding group that gathered around the statue for a night-time protest in May, and another protest in July when about 50 members of a North Carolina-based KKK group travelled there for a rally, where they were met by hundreds of counter-protesters.

Mayor Mike Signer said the protest was "another despicable visit by neo-Nazi cowards" and that the city was "looking at all our legal options."

After the August rally, blogger Jason Kessler said "absolutely we are going to have further demonstrations in Charlottesville because our constitutional rights are being denied."

The clashes in Charlottesville in August were the catalyst for debate about racial divisions in the US, and resulted in Confederate monuments being torn down in other states.

ABC/wires