Group of white nationalists holds torch-lit rally at Emancipation Park

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- A group of white nationalists held a torch-lit rally at Emancipation Park in Downtown Charlottesville.

The Charlottesville Police Department says between 40 to 50 people, including alt-right leader Richard Spencer, held a tiki torch-lit rally in Emancipation Park around 7:40 p.m. Saturday.

Officers say the rally lasted about five to 10 minutes before the group boarded a tour bus and left.

Officers followed the tour bus to make sure the group left the city.

Police said they are conferring with the Charlottesville Commonwealth's Attorney's Office to determine what legal action may be taken in response to the rally.

The marchers were heard chanting "you will not replace us," and "we will be back."

The torch-lit rally comes just a few days after a judge ruled the lawsuit involving the Robert E. Lee statue could move forward.

This also comes almost two months after a similar torch-lit rally at the University of Virginia, and the deadly Unite the Right rally on Aug. 12.

Several city and state leaders responded to Saturday's torch-lit rally.

"Another despicable visit by neo-Nazi cowards," Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer said in a tweet. "You're not welcome here."

Signer hinted at seeking legal action against the group by saying the city is examining the legality of the rally.

"It's clear that these white supremacists are using torches, fire, and hate speech to intimidate our citizens," Charlottesville Vice Mayor Wes Bellamy said in a tweet. "That's a crime."

Bellamy also called on Charlottesville Commonwealth's Attorney Dave Chapman to take legal action against the group of white supremacists.

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (D-Virginia) tweeted his office was monitoring the situation.

"We continue to oppose these racists and their message of hate," said McAuliffe.

Virginia Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam (D-Virginia), who is also running for governor, spoke out against the rally in Charlottesville.

“There is no home, no place, and no safe harbor in the country I pledged to defend for the ugly hatred we saw in Charlottesville tonight," said Northam.

Republican candidate Ed Gillespie did not immediately have a response to the rally.

A small group of counter-protesters also gathered later in the evening at Carr's Hill on Grounds, the residence of University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan, demanding racial justice.

Police declared it an unlawful assembly around 11:30 p.m. Saturday, and so far no arrests have been made.



 
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