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Charlottesville protest likened to ‘days of the KKK’

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- The mayor of Charlottesville is responding after a large group carrying torches gathered at Lee Park Saturday night to protest the city’s decision to remove Confederate monuments.

The photo shows the crowd holding torches as they stood near the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

WCAV reported the crowd was heard chanting, "You will not replace us," "Russia is our friend," and "blood and soil."

The crowd dispersed after a fight broke out and police arrived, according to the station.

Mayor Mike Singer released the following statement after the protest:

This event involving torches at night in Lee Park was either profoundly ignorant or was designed to instill fear in our minority populations in a way that hearkens back to the days of the KKK. Either way, as mayor of this City, I want everyone to know this: we reject this intimidation. We are a Welcoming City, but such intolerance is not welcome here.

City council members are expected to decide on the Blue Ribbon Commission's remaining recommendations during a meeting Monday.