White nationalists, including alt-right leader Richard Spencer, assembled once again at the foot of Charlottesville’s Robert E. Lee statue.
Spencer, Unite the Right rally organizer Jason Kessler and members of white nationalist and white rights groups first gathered at the Lee statue on May 13. On Aug. 11, the day before the antifa counterdemonstration ended in violence.
Spencer and Kessler are both graduates of UVa, which celebrated its bicentennial on Friday.
At about 7:40p.m. Saturday, about 40 to 50 ralliers chanted “we will be back”. Charlottesville police observed no disorders at the rally, and officers followed Spencer and the rally as they left Emancipation Park in a tour bus to ensure that they were leaving the city.
On Twitter, Spencer called the rally “Charlottesville 3.0” and deemed it a great success that should be repeated by supporters.
An NBC29 reporter noted that police maintained a presence in and around the park but did not intervene. Demonstrations involving 50 or fewer people do not need a permit in Charlottesville, and the park is open to the public until 11 p.m.
“While we prefer protesters get permits like any other event,” city spokeswoman Miriam Dicker said in an email, “such assemblies are protected by the First Amendment and we do not interfere unless we perceive a legal or safety issue.”
In a tweet, Mayor Mike Signer called the rally “another despicable visit by neo-Nazi cowards,” adding, “You’re not welcome here! Go home! Meantime we’re looking at all our legal options. Stay tuned.”
The black City Councilor Wes Bellamy called for the ralliers to be prosecuted. He cited section 18.2-423.01 of the Virginia Code, which states that "any person who, with the intent of intimidating any person or group of persons, burns an object on a highway or other public place in a manner having a direct tendency to place another person in reasonable fear or apprehension of death or bodily injury is guilty of a Class 6 felony."
"When White Supremacists Make odes to White Power, and clearly use torches to send a message to our community that they are the superior race while trying to strike fear and intimidate others, they are breaking the law," Bellamy wrote on Facebook.
City police said in a statement that the department was conferring with local officials about "possible legal action".