An anti-Trump group has claimed responsibility for launching a "Nazi" stunt ahead of the 2021 Virginia gubernatorial election.
The anti-Donald Trump group, called "The Lincoln Project," took credit for organizing on Friday a group of five people holding tiki torches who showed up at a Charlottesville campaign stop by GOP candidate for Virginia governor Glenn Youngkin,
The media said the "Nazi" stunt revived memories of the deadly demo by white supremacists in Charlottesville in 2017.
Charlottesville TV station WVIR showed five people with tiki torches at the campaign stop for Virginia's GOP candidate for governor.
Their appearance recalled two days of chaos in August 2017, when white supremacists gathered in the college town for a “Unite the Right" rally ostensibly to protest the planned removal of a Confederate monument.
The night before the planned rally, a group carrying tiki torches marched across the University of Virginia campus, clashing with a small group of anti-racist protesters. The next day a car driven by a self-avowed white supremacist plowed into a crowd of peaceful counterprotesters, killing one and injuring dozens.
The anti-Trump group Lincoln Project claimed to be behind what it described as a “demonstration” to create awareness among voters that the Republican candidate had the support of the former right-wing US president.
“The Youngkin campaign is enraged by our reminder of Charlottesville for one simple reason: Glenn Youngkin wants Virginians to forget that he is Donald Trump’s candidate," the group said of the former president.
Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe’s campaign manager condemned the move as a “disgusting and distasteful” stunt conveying a hate message
“What happened today is disgusting and distasteful and we condemn it in the strongest terms. Those involved should immediately apologize," McAuliffe campaign manager Chris Bolling said in a statement.
The incident comes at a sensitive time in the city. A civil trial opened Monday that will determine whether the neo-Nazis and white supremacists who organized the 2017 demonstrations should be held accountable for the violence.