According to a University of Nevada student whose torch-wielding image went viral this Saturday, he’s not the angry racist that the image portrays.
The photo, taken at the Charlottesville rally this weekend where clashes between white nationalist marchers and counter-protesters left three people dead, shows 20-year-old Peter Cvjetanovic, an admitted white nationalist, carrying a torch with a throng of other far-right marchers who were protesting the removal of a Confederate monument.
Speaking to local news station KTVN, Cvjetanovic says he attended the rally to support “European culture.”
“I came to this march for the message that white European culture has a right to be here just like every other culture,” Cvjetanovic said. “It is not perfect; there are flaws to it, of course. However I do believe that the replacement of the statue will be the slow replacement of white heritage within the United States and the people who fought and defended and built their homeland. Robert E Lee is a great example of that. He wasn’t a perfect man, but I want to honor and respect what he stood for during his time.”
“I did not expect the photo to be shared as much as it was,” he added, saying that he understands the photo’s “negative connotation.
“I understand the photo has a very negative connotation. But I hope that the people sharing the photo are willing to listen that I’m not the angry racist they see in that photo.”
Cvjetanovic said that his role as a white nationalist is to “care for all people.”
“We all deserve a future for our children and for our culture. White nationalists aren’t all hateful; we just want to preserve what we have.”
Watch KTVN’s report below:
Featured image via Twitter