'This is our town and it was invaded by white supremacist terrorists,' says Shining Crawford, one of many who demonstrated.
In a mass rejection of the hate rally that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend thousands of candle-holding demonstrators flocked to the city's University of Virginia Wednesday night.
The campus was enveloped last Friday in the eerie glow of torches held by a mixture of white supremacists, white nationalists and neo-Nazis as they chanted racist mantras and held up Nazi and confederate symbols.
Shining Crawford, a 36 year-old Charlottesville resident was quick to denounce the demonstration, saying she came to the campus Wednesday because "this is our town and it was invaded by white supremacist terrorists".
"There's no place for hate here," she said.
Wednesday's protest traced the route the hate rally took last Friday in an effort to "take back the grounds", said Mike Ludwick, a 47 year-old resident.
"In the end, maybe we've been an inspiration for other places around the country," he told Anadolu Agency.
Last weekend's mass hate demonstration drew participants from across the country seeking to protest the looming removal of a confederate statue from a city park.
But after one woman was killed and nearly 20 others injured in a car attack on counter-demonstrators, momentum has grown for the symbols to come down nationwide, particularly in the south where they occupy prominent spaces.
The city of Baltimore, Maryland became the latest to remove confederate symbols from public spaces, silently removing all four of its confederate monuments in the early morning hours Wednesday.
Alabama’s largest city of Birmingham has moved to cover a confederate monument in wooden panels after the state legislature passed a law earlier this year to block the removal of confederate structures.
The city's action prompted the Alabama attorney general to sue the city.
In Lexington, Kentucky, the mayor has planned to remove two confederate monuments from the city's former courthouse.
Confederate symbols became a focus of activist action after white supremacists Dylann Roof gunned down nine black parishioners in a church in South Carolina, hoping to incite a race war in 2015.
But rather than accomplish his goals, Roof's mass killings fueled momentum to remove confederate symbols, which he was pictured prominently displaying.
In the time since Roof carried out his grisly crimes, at least 60 monuments have been removed or renamed, the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate crimes, said in April.
Roof now sits on death row ahead of his execution by lethal injection.