Hundreds of white nationalists showed up with tiki-torches in hand to rally on the University of Virginia campus on Friday night, August 11. The convergence was organized to kick off a weekend of demonstrations that will revolve around the "Unite The Right" rally officials expect will receive thousands who stand in opposition to the removal of a Confederacy statue from a Charlottesville park.
The group of mostly Caucasian males in their 20's and 30's kicked off their gathering at the nearby Nameless Park, where the set their torches aflame and assembled into a line that stretched into the campus. They then began to move towards a Thomas Jefferson statue where counter-protesters awaited with a banner that read "VA Students Act Against White Supremacy." As they marched on chants of "You will not replace us" switched back and forth with an interchangeable "Jew will not replace us." They also shouted such nationalist slogans as "blood and soil" and "one people, one nation, end immigration."
The evening would end with friction after police declared their presence on the campus an unlawful assembly, and fistfights began to pop off. Demonstrators eventually extinguished their torches and dissipated. Around the same time, some 500 people who filled St. Paul's Memorial Church across the street from UVA reportedly prayed for unity, as the city braced for a potentially disastrous weekend in Charlottesville.