After violence in Charlottesville, cities rush to take down monuments as white supremacists gear up to fight

The thousands of demonstrators have left Charlottesville, Va. The bronze statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, around which the protests were focused, remained standing. A memorial service was being planned for the woman who was killed, and many of the 19 people injured remained in the hospital.

And as the city began to recover from the violence of this past weekend, both sides declared victory.

To the white supremacists who gathered from across the country, the havoc in the Virginia college town and the international attention it earned them marked a win. To the counter-protesters, widespread acknowledgment of the threat posed by racism — evident in television images of Nazi symbols and other blatant bigotry — was proof they had prevailed.

It remains unclear what will happen to the racist movement that has been energized by the election of President Trump and was laid out for all to see in Charlottesville. But one thing seems certain: The fighting is not over. Both sides are gearing up for more.

White nationalists and pro-Cofederate groups quickly announced rallies and speaking events in Virginia, Texas and beyond, gaining throngs of online supporters while the people who live in those places are already taking to the streets to warn them to stay away.

In Kentucky and Maryland, city officials promised to swiftly tear down Confederate monuments after years of debates, drawing cheers from supporters but also galvanizing the white supremacists and fanning fears of more protests and more violence.

“These conflicts are growing, not diminishing,” said Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extreme at Cal State San Bernardino. “A wedge has been turned into a battering ram by emboldened white nationalists.”

Hours after the Charlottesville rally on Saturday, where bodies flew as a man plowed a car into a crowd on a downtown street, Texas resident Preston Wiginton announced a “White Lives Matter” rally in College Station in September. He said he wanted to carry on the campaign launched by those in Virginia.

“Today Charlottesville tomorrow Texas A&M,” said a news release issued by Wiginton, who has been identified as a white supremacist by civil rights groups. He vowed to fight “the liberal agenda of white guilt and white genocide.”

On Monday, the university canceled the rally, citing safety concerns. The event had been advertised as featuring Richard Spencer, a prominent white nationalist who promoted the Charlottesville rally.

Wiginton said he would sue, and white nationalists across the U.S. defended his cause.

The University of Florida said the same day that it was considering a request from Spencer to give a talk on campus on Sept. 12. Spencer has also said he will to return Charlottesville.

While white nationalists fought for speaking engagements, monuments came down.

Residents of Gainesville, Fla., wiped away tears of joy on Monday as workers used jackhammers to remove a Confederate statue nicknamed “Old Joe” that stood in front of a county building. The removal was scheduled last month, and the statue now sits in a private cemetery after the United Daughters of the Confederacy, a group made up of women who trace their ancestry to Southern Civil War figures, volunteered to take it.

The same day, demonstrators in Durham, N.C., cheered as they used a lasso to topple a 15-foot statue of a Confederate soldier and started kicking its head.

READ ---  The weather is going to be glorious this Bank Holiday weekend

“No cops, no KKK, no fascist USA!” and “We are the revolution!” they chanted.

The statue of stood since 1924 with a dedication to “the boys who wore the gray.”

Source