13News Now Investigates: which groups protested in Charlottesville Saturday

We're looking into who exactly was protesting in Charlottesville over the weekend. There have been a lot of names and buzz words for the groups -- but 13News Now is examining who they stand for and what the names mean.

We’re looking into who exactly was protesting in Charlottesville over the weekend. There have been a lot of names and buzz words for the groups -- but 13News Now is examining who they stand for and what the names mean.

The "Unite the Right" rally was billed as a demonstration supporting the rights of white people. Leaders said it also focused on standing against the potential removal of the Robert E. Lee statue. Many of the groups that showed up on Saturday are listed as “active hate groups” here in the United States.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups, gives detailed information about many of the participants. In 2016, the Center documented 917 active hate groups in our country alone.

See Also: SPLC's 'Hate Map' 

The main buzz words reported about the "Unite the Right" rally are "alt-right" and "white nationalist." According to the SPLC, the "Alternative Right" are individuals "whose core belief is that 'white identity' is under attack by multicultural forces."

Similarly, the Center describes "white nationalists" as a group that often focuses on the alleged inferiority of other races.

We asked Quentin Kidd of CNU's Wason Center for Public Policy for some perspective on this political landscape.

“They're largely going to look to America of the past as a model, rather than an America of today or an America of the future,” he explained.

Some groups that could be considered "white nationalist" include the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and Vanguard America. That last organization might sound familiar. James Fields, the suspect authorities said drove a car into a crowd of people, was seen with its members.

Vanguard America’s website is called “BloodAndSoil.org." Protestors could be heard yelling those words at marches and rallies. They are rooted in Nazi ideology and stress ethnic identity is based only on blood descent and land.

Many of these protesters also focus on their Southern or Confederate identity and what it could mean if those monuments are taken down.

“Taking these monuments down is a really important thing because you’re taking away the physical manifestation of what many of these groups believe would be a better, a more ideal America for them,” Kidd said.

The monuments, according to Kidd, seem to be a flashpoint.

“They represent that living cause that they're still living for,” Kidd added. “Even though we all know that that cause is a cause of history that we should be studying, not a cause of today that we're living.”

Countering those groups Saturday was the “Antifa,” which is short for Anti-Fascist. According to one major branch's website, they engage in direct conflict with fascist and Neo-Nazi organizations, often disrupting those groups' rallies and activities.

© 2017 WVEC-TV


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