CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Charlottesville Albemarle NAACP is speaking out against last weekend’s protests in Lee Park. The organization held a press conference Wednesday morning at its office building in Charlottesville.

"Saturday night's debacle casts serious doubts in whether Charlottesville can sustain its All American City," said Janette Boyd Martin, the president and spokesperson of the Albemarle Charlottesville NAACP.

Boyd Martin says the organization's executive committee was out of town when they heard about the protests in Lee Park. Members say they were shocked to hear and see dozens of people with torches gathered around the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. 

The NAACP is making their voices heard, calling Saturday's protests an act of intimidation, saying "even though white sheets were not worn, the intended purpose appeared to be an intimidation tactic. The NAACP is reminiscent of those days.”

The group says it wants to the community to know that it is aware of what happened.

“For those of us, when you're in the NAACP since 1909, especially after the Civil War, we have been used to the midnight riders, the torches, and the white sheets, and the lynchings, and all that that goes with the territory,” Boyd Martin stated.

Now, concerns about the youth run deep. "It is our hope that children were spared this dreadful scene displayed by Saturday night protestors," Boyd Martin stated.

The group says it applauds the group that gathered in the park on Sunday night to take part in a peace vigil in response to Saturday’s protest.

The Albemarle Charlottesville NAACP says it is remaining true to its mission to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination while securing the rights of all people.

The next steps call for a discussion about race. The group has set a community meeting for June 12 with Charlottesville Police Chief Al Thomas. Details about the specific nature of that meeting are forthcoming, we will keep you updated as we get more information.