The Jewish mayor of Charlottesville, Virginia, became the target of online anti-Semitic and racist abuse after denouncing alt-right protests that occurred over the weekend.
Richard Spencer, a white nationalist, led torch-wielding protesters in rallying around a statue of Confederacy leader Robert E. Lee slated for removal in the city.
According to NBC News, crowds chanted slogans such as “You will not replace us,” “Russia is our friend,” and the Nazi-era phrase, “Blood and soil.”
Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer, who opposed removing the statues, condemned the rally in a statement on Sunday.
“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,” said Signer. “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.”
In response, he was met with assaults on Twitter.
“We are tired of Jewish supremacy,” one person wrote. “Go back to Israel with your people and stay there.”
Another tweeted, “YOU are on the side of evil. It’s Bolshevism/Global Socialism you are pushing. Way more evil than whites looking after their own interests.”
“Whew! Lot of trolls out tonight,” Signer tweeted Sunday. “Must be doing something right.”
The mayor then spent time responding to some of the criticisms and also thanked those who applauded him for standing up to the hate.
Charlottesville’s City Council voted to sell the Lee statue in April, but its removal was halted for six months by a judge’s order, The Washington Post reports. The statue has become a rallying cry for Corey Stewart, a Republican candidate for governor of the state who promised not to remove any Confederate memorials if elected.