A North Carolina man angered a crowd Tuesday by dressing in a Confederate soldier’s uniform and toting a Confederate flag and an assault rifle at a statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Va.
Allen Armentrout told The Daily Progress he went to the Virginia town to defend the statue at Emancipation Park but that he disagrees with the rally white supremacists organized in Charlottesville on Saturday. That event turned violent, resulting in one death and multiple injuries. Contention over the future of the statue of the Confederate general was central to the “Unite the Right” rally.
“It hurts my heart that people come out here and misappropriate Robert E. Lee and the Confederate flag for their personal agendas,” Armentrout told the newspaper. “I’m out here to honor my ancestors and honor the men who died under the command of Robert E. Lee, and I think me being out here shows that I hope to accomplish the fact that the world can see that there’s non-racist pro-Confederate people out there that love freedom and independence.”
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Armentrout’s views did little to keep people from confronting him. Some stuck up their middle finger at him, and others told him Heather Heyer’s blood is on his hands, the newspaper reported. Heyer died Saturday after a man drove a car into a crowd in Charlottesville.
People stopped and asked reporters why they were interviewing the 21-year-old, CNN reported.
“This is our town,” a man told Armentrout, according to CNN. “Your people have killed us. You tore up our town. You ruined business. This statue is coming down.”
Armentrout reportedly responded that the statue is not coming down because it is protected by Virginia state law.
The Charlottesville City Council in April approved removing the statue from the park, once known as Lee Park, according to The Daily Progress, but a lawsuit followed to prevent the removal.
Armentrout agreed to leave the site at the request of police, the report said.