A student at the University of Nevada, Reno said things are "spiraling out of control" since he was identified as a participant in a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend.
Peter Cvjetanovic, 20, a history and political science major, was identified by the Twitter account @yesyoureracist after his photo was taken holding a torch with what appears to be an angry expression on his face.
“I have received death threats,” said Cvjetanovic, who plans to report to the Reno Police Department at least five instances that he feels are legitimate threats. He said the threats have been violent and graphic.
He added he is not telling anyone his plans to return to Nevada for fear he may be attacked.
“I will defend tooth and nail my views as a white nationalist,” Cvjetanovic said. “I love my culture and will fight for it, but never in a violent way.”
Cvjetanovic was at the “Unite the Right” rally that started Friday. Organized by white nationalist groups, hundreds were protesting the removal of a statue of legendary Confederate general Robert E. Lee.
The protests turned deadly Saturday when a car plowed into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing a 32-year-old woman and injuring 19.
Cvjetanovic said he decided a month ago to attend the rally because he strongly believes in his white heritage.
He said he would not confirm whether other University of Nevada, Reno students were at the rally for fear of others’ safety. He also would not identify what clubs he is in involved with at the university, but said he has been an active student.
“I want everyone to have their culture, and I want to have mine,” he said.
University President Marc Johnson said the white supremacist movement had a corrosive effect on society.
“We denounce any movement that targets individuals due to the color of their skin, their religious beliefs, political beliefs, sexual orientation, ability/disability, or whether they were born in our country,” he said in a statement.
At least two petitions on Change.org have more than 1,000 signatures calling for the college student to be expelled.
Cvjetanovic said he plans to return to the university for the fall semester on Aug. 28.
“I was there legally and committed no acts of violence,” he said.
After a photo started circulating of what appears to be Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., with a group of students, including the student who appears to be Cvjetanovic, Heller tweeted Sunday: “I don't know this person & condemn the outrageous racism, hatred and violence. It's unacceptable & shameful. No room for it in this country.”
I don't know this person & condemn the outrageous racism, hatred and violence. It's unacceptable & shameful. No room for it in this country. https://t.co/6yQqKZRowb— Dean Heller (@SenDeanHeller) August 13, 2017
Cvjetanovic said he does not condone any violence or the actions of the person who drove a car into the crowd of those protesting against the rally.
"It is a tragedy people were killed and injured," he said.
“I know they think I am an enemy of their daughter,” Cvjetanovic said of the woman killed at the protest. “I am sorry that happened.”
Follow Siobhan McAndrew on Twitter: @Siobhanmcandrew