Torch-wielding white nationalist protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, stirred up memories of the violent KKK-led protests of the Jim Crow-era South, but unlike their white-hooded brothers of decades past, these ralliers didn’t bother to cover their faces, and Twitter has made it its mission to find out who they are.
“There were hundreds if not thousands of cameras running during the rally at any given moment”.
President Donald Trump condemned the violence but did not specifically mention white nationalists, neo-Nazis or their views, instead criticising hatred and violence “on many sides”, reports The Hill magazine. “They are not hiding behind their hoods”, he said.
Soon after he was identified on Twitter, a photo surfaced appearing to show him with Dean Heller, a Republican Senator from Nevada, alongside other students. Here to clear my name.
An image of an enraged-looking Cvjetanovic clutching a torch and screaming was an early viral image from the rallies, and Cvjetanovic told his local Reno news station that he “did not expect the photo to be shared as much as it was”.
Peter Cvjetanovic, a 20-year-old student attending the University of Nevada, Reno, also had his image and identity spread across the Internet, to which he said he understood that the photo had a “very negative connotation”.
But he didn’t apologize for his beliefs.
“I came to this march for the message that white European culture has a right to be here just like every other culture”, Cvjetanovic added, explaining he wanted to demonstrate against what he described as the “replacement of white heritage” and had come out to the march because of its protest over the removal of a statue of Confederate Army General Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville.
A Nevada college student prominently featured in a photograph of the torch light march in Charlottesville says he’s received death threats and is anxious about his return to the Reno campus.
“Whoever wore the shirt obviously does not represent my values, the values of the College of Engineering or the U of A”, Quinn wrote on Twitter, condemning the “horrible events in Virginia”.
“I was there legally and committed no acts of violence”, he said. One photo of a man wearing an 82nd Airborne Division hat while giving the Nazi salute had been retweeted more than 18,000 times as of Monday afternoon.
“I do not think they have the right to expel me from a public university”. It’s unacceptable ^and^ shameful.
Logan Smith, who runs the @YesYoureRacist account, told CNN he’s been overwhelmed by the response and the number of people willing to help.
And of course, a picture can speak volumes, but sometimes they don’t tell the entire story.
“Cole White, the first person I exposed, no longer has a job”, @YesYoureRacist announced via Twitter Sunday morning.
But he doesn’t think naming and shaming will cause those at the center of it all to change their beliefs. “We deserve a future for our children and for our culture”.