Charlottesville, Virginia residents and University of Virginia students came together Friday to protest against Republican Rep. Tom Garrett at his first town hall meeting.
They say he’s a white supremacist, and he must go. Local protesters held put up a massive sign that read:
“no dialogue with white supremacy”
The crowd, which insists Garrett is a white supremacist, continuously chanted:
“Say it loud, say it clear: immigrants are welcome here.”
Protests against Garrett went on outside and inside the University of Virginia building where the town hall meeting was held, reports NBC 29. The protests were organized by UVA Students United and Showing Up for Racial Justice.
“[W]e refuse to give him a platform to spout his politics of racial terror and white supremacy,” the Charlottesville chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice said in a Facebook post. “Engaging in polite conversation with Garrett normalizes his extreme views and allows them to spread. Instead, we need to disrupt this language and these policies in order to make space to create a world in which we can all be liberated from the damning violence of white supremacy that has built and structured this nation since its inception through settler colonialism and racial chattel slavery.”
The group accused Rep. Garrett of running for Congress on a racist, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBT, and “anti-social” platform.
Garrett’s protesters had several chants, including “Tom Garrett, go away; no racist USA,” “If we don’t get it, shut it down,” and “no ban, no registry; fuck white supremacy.”
Some supporters of President Trump were also present. They displayed Trump and Pence signs and shouted “Trump, Trump, Trump,” repeatedly, while one man shouted “illegal immigrants have to go” into a mic.
Rep. Garrett discussed a number of subjects, including Obamacare, Russia’s role in the 2016 election, gun rights, and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
“[Obamacare] was sold to us on a promise that our premiums would drop by $2,500 dollars a year and it didn’t,” Garrett said. “That if we liked our doctor we could keep them, we couldn’t. That if we liked our plan, we could keep it. We couldn’t.”
“I absolutely, positively believe that there was an effort by the Russians to influence the elections,” he added. “… If someone can show me evidence that a single vote was changed, then I would say that’s tantamount to an act of war, but I haven’t seen it from anywhere.”
He expressed support for gun rights, and said he generally endorsed pipelines, but did not like how the Atlantic Coast Pipeline was proceeding.