Both the right-wing protesters and anti-fascist counter protesters claimed Saturday’s violent Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville as a success for their side.
However, the right never actually held the event they had planned, as a state of emergency was declared and riot police kicked them out of Emancipation Park, where it was to be held.
“I think this is unequivocally a win for us,” Lacy MacAuley, a self-described anti-fascist organizer and activist, told BuzzFeed News reporter Blake Montgomery.
“If it hadn’t been for us opposing the right, we would have seen them take the park and declaring victory right now and marching unchecked and unopposed through Charlottesville’s streets,” said MacAuley.
Many on the right dispersed shortly after riot police shut down the initial event.
“This was a great day. This was certainly a propaganda victory, a moral victory,” said alt-right personality Richard Spencer, in a Periscope posted to Twitter.
Spencer, one of the leaders of the rally, tweeted to his supporters to “disperse” from Charlottesville, since the state of emergency made the protest unlawful.
In a Periscope, he used racial slurs against the deputy mayor of Charlottesville, Dr Wes Bellamy, who is black. Spencer called him “a house you-know-what” in a Periscope after the event, furious that local authorities had shut down the event.
“I never felt like the police or any kind of federal authorities were really trying to crack down on me, until today. I have never been so outraged at the mayor…. I am absolutely appalled,” said Spencer.
The University of Virginia cancelled all planned events and classes on Saturday in response to the violence.
“As of 12:30 p.m., a single arrest has been reported,” police said on Facebook. “Emergency Medical Personnel have responded to eight injuries related to the event.
“Law enforcement will continue to monitor the situation and respond as appropriate.”
– Amber Jamieson