White supremacists returned to Charlottesville this weekend, almost two months after neo-Nazis violently clashed with anti-fascism protesters in the university town.

Alt-right founder Richard Spencer led dozens of his supporters in a torchlit march through the city on Saturday night (7 October).

Around 50 white supremacists gathered at Emancipation Park, where the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee stands, at around 7.40pm (11.40 pm GMT), police said.

Dressed in white shirts and wielding torches, they chanted: "You will not replace us. You will not erase us."

"Hello, Charlottesville. We have a message. We're back and we're going to keep coming back," one speaker said.

Virginia authorities condemned Spencer's decision to return to Charlottesville following the deadly protest in August. 32-year-old Heather Heyer was killed in the clashes on 12 August after white supremacist James Fields ploughed his car into her. His high school teacher and former classmates described Fields as a "Nazi sympathiser."

The city's mayor, Mike Signer, ordered the white supremacists to leave Charlottesville.

"Another despicable visit by neo-Nazi cowards. You're not welcome here! Go home! Meantime we're looking at all our legal options. Stay tuned," he wrote on Twitter.

Spencer described the march as a "great success."

"It was a planned flash mob," he said, according to the Washington Post. "We wanted to prove that we came in peace in May, we came in peace in August, and we come again in peace. Our identity matters. We are not going to stand by and allow people to tear down these symbols of our history and our people – and we're going to do this again," he added.

After the rally, the group boarded a bus and left the city escorted by police cars.

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe said on Twitter: "We are monitoring this situation as we continue to oppose these racists and their message of hate."