August 12, 2017 10:54 am -

The modern white racist movement devided to hold a rally last night. Things went badly, and pretty quickly.

The mainstream media take on the incident was best summarized by in the first two paragraphs of their report:

Crowds of torch-wielding white supremacists clashed with counter-protesters Friday night at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville — a precursor to a rally that has city officials bracing for thousands.

Overnight, chants of “You will not replace us!” and “Blood and soil!” were met with shouts of “No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA!”

The “main event” in this circus is supposed to take place today, and we would wager it won’t get better.

Thousands of people are expected to arrive in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday to participate in, or protest against, a White Nationalist rally called to oppose plans to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee from a city park.

Last nioht’s confrontation follows a now-familiar pattern that organizers of the racisr white frings have exploited successfully several times in the past: organize a protest on a college campus in the hope of drawing out less peaceful so-called “antifa” opponents of racism. NPR reports:

Violence erupted between white nationalists marching with torches and counter-protesters on the University of Virginia’s campus Friday night.

People planning to counter-protest tomorrow’s rally were just leaving a mass prayer service at St. Paul’s Memorial Church, on the UVA campus, when word began to spread that hundreds of white nationalists were marching toward the area.

Across the street, a ring of young counter-protesters had surrounded the statue of Thomas Jefferson beneath the university’s iconic rotunda, holding a sign that read “UVA Students Against White Supremacy.” Legal observers, street medics, and others supporting the counter-protesters began to rush into place as the alt-right march approached.

Violence erupted – and no, it was not from teh counter-protest side:

As organizers on both sides worked to maintain calm, scattered protesters broke off into shouting matches. Soon, scuffles broke out inside the circle of torches, between the rotunda and the statue. One of the white nationalist protesters threw a torch into the circle, and another apparently sprayed the student counter-protesters with mace.

Ali, a counter-protester who asked that ThinkProgress not identify him further out of fear of retaliation, said he saw pushing and then saw a tiki torch thrown.

“At that point, I felt mace in my eyes and knew that I had to break the line,” he said in an interview. “So I ran.”

Here’s the disturbing part:

There was no visible police presence with the hundreds-strong white nationalist march, and the scene was extremely tense. A ThinkProgress reporter exited through the circle of white nationalists when the fighting broke out. Several, one wearing a sidearm, followed after him demanding to know his identity. They relented when he showed them his press credentials.

“In seemed like it was about to happen,” Ali said of the tense scene before scuffles broke out. “They were hinting violence.”

Shortly after the fighting broke out, organizers of the march demanded that their fellow protesters put out their torches. Protesters then surrounded the Jefferson statue as they forced the student counter-protesters away and off to one side. Not long after, a handful of police officers came on the scene and ordered the crowd to disperse. “This is over,” an officer told the protesters.

Okay, let that sink in: the Charlottesville cops have been well aware that teere will be fascists in town all weekend, and they surely know that campuses have been a flashpoint for violwnt confrontation between neo-Nazia and antifa groups. How is that not neglect, arguably malign neglect?

ThinkProgress’s report draws heavily on the Twitter feed of Joshua Eaton, which is well worth a look. He plans to be on the scene Saturday. NPR has additional information on last night’s melee and today’s expected trouble:

For those who live around the University of Virginia, this is not expected to be a quiet weekend.

In a Facebook post, Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer wrote, “I am beyond disgusted by this unsanctioned and despicable display of visual intimidation on a college campus.”

In the days leading up to the rally, there had been some back and forth about where it would be held.

The Associated Press reports a federal judge has ordered Charlottesville to allow the rally to take place at its originally planned location downtown:

“U.S. District Judge Glen Conrad issued a preliminary injunction Friday in a lawsuit filed against Charlottesville by right-wing blogger Jason Kessler.

“The city announced earlier this week that the rally must be moved out of Emancipation Park to a larger one, citing safety reasons.

“Kessler sued, saying the change was a free speech violation. The judge wrote that Kessler was likely to prevail and granted the injunction.”

After the ruling, The New York Times reports:

“Late Friday night, several hundred torch-bearing men and women marched on the main quadrangle of the University of Virginia’s grounds, shouting, “You will not replace us,” and “Jew will not replace us.” They walked around the Rotunda, the university’s signature building, and to a statue of Thomas Jefferson, where a group of counterprotesters were gathered, and a brawl ensued.”

University President Teresa Sullivan issued a statement after Friday night’s march.

“As President of the University of Virginia, I am deeply saddened and disturbed by the hateful behavior displayed by torch-bearing protestors that marched on our Grounds this evening. I strongly condemn the unprovoked assault on members of our community, including University personnel who were attempting to maintain order.

“Law enforcement continues to investigate the incident, and it is my hope that any individuals responsible for criminal acts are held accountable. The violence displayed on Grounds is intolerable and is entirely inconsistent with the University’s values.”

City officials and police say they are prepared for any violence. Gov. Terry McAuliffe urged Virginians to stay away from the rally, and placed the National Guard on standby. The guard released a statement saying it would “closely monitor the situation.”

Keeping in mind that the brownshirt wing of a white racist movement feels empowered by Donald Trump’s presence in the Oval Office. They are looking for excuses for confrontation and violence. And the removal of a confederate statue gives these stooges an “excuse” that perfectly encapsulates their message of White Victimhood. And it looks as if their violence is being enabled by the police.

UPDATE, 10:55amEDT – MSNBC is live on the scene, and it appears that a counterprotest organized who is  amember of the clergy was assaulted by a Nazi protester during an interview with Joy Reid. Several eyewitnesses report the Nazis are armed with billy clubs and brass knuckles.

D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.