Update 3: A car has plowed into a group of counter-protesters at the Charlottesville rally, with local media reporting numerous heavy injuries. Video footage taken at the scene shows a damaged light-colored vehicle which appears to have been rammed by a larger, darker car at the scene. Local media describe the incident as a hit and run, with the vehicle, which reportedly had no license plate, quickly leaving the scene after the attack.
VIDEO: Car slams into group of people during protests in Charlottesville, Virginia; reports of serious injuries (Vid: Rebelutionary_Z) pic.twitter.com/Gf5qMf64u9— BNO News (@BNONews) August 12, 2017
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Update 2: Trump has responded to the Charlottesville protests, says "there is no place for this kind of violence in America"
We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Lets come together as one!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 12, 2017
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Update: A state of emergency has been declared for Charlottesville due to the fighting, clashes and "chaos" at the rally. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency in the city to aid in the local response. He earlier said the Virginia National Guard will be "standing by to respond if needed."
The city and county issued a declaration of local emergency for Charlottesville city and county, when the scene turned violent well before the "Unite the Right" rally, scheduled for noon, officially began. The city said two people were treated for serious but non-life-threatening emergencies from altercations by 10:30 a.m. Counter-protesters also flooded the area to demonstrate their disdain for the protesters' message.
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Fighting has broken out at a ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville, Virginia between right-wing protesters demonstrating against the removal of a Confederate-era statue from Emancipation Park, and various groups of counter demonstrators. The rally also aimed to protest against Charlottesville's decision to rename downtown Lee Park, now called Emancipation Park, besides the statue removal.
Some 2,000 to 6,000 people are expected to attend the rally, which is expected to be one of the largest far-right gatherings in the U.S. in at least a decade.
The national socialist movement and others heading east on Market street. pic.twitter.com/hk6eD2Tfr3— Allison Wrabel (@craftypanda) August 12, 2017
The Unite the Right rally aims to “unify the right-wing against a totalitarian Communist crackdown” and “affirm the right of Southerners and white people to organize for their interests just like any other group is able to do.”
Among the protesters were spotted both nazi flags...
... and KKK attire:
The clashes come a day after hundreds of white marchers carrying torches clashed briefly with counterprotesters on the Charlottesville campus of the University of Virginia on Friday, the eve of a rally planned by thousands of "far-right nationalists". The marchers chanted as made their way from Nameless Field through the sprawling campus to the school's Thomas Jefferson statue, where they were met by counterprotesters, an affiliate of NBC news said.
At least one person was arrested and several on campus were treated for minor injuries, the Daily Progress newspaper said. "I am beyond disgusted by this unsanctioned and despicable display of visual intimidation on a college campus," Mayor Mike Singer said in a statement.
One clip posted on Twitter showed various armed members of an unidentified militia arriving at Emancipation Park carrying guns and rifles.
A separate clip shows another group joining the rally, chanting "bllod and soil" as it arrives:
According to Reuters, the events highlight a persistent debate in the U.S. South over the display of the Confederate battle flag and other symbols of the rebel side in the Civil War, fought over the issue of slavery. Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe has said extremist groups have threatened to try and attack rally participants, to express opposition to the statue's removal.
Supporters call such statues racially insensitive, while opponents say Confederate symbols honor Southern heritage, and calls to remove them reflect "empty political correctness."
Lee was a symbol for white people threatened by immigration and "ethnic cleansing," rally organizer and freelance journalist Jason Kessler said in an interview with Pennsylvania's WHLM radio on Thursday.
Meanwhile, NBC notes that the National Guard is on standby, with Virginia State Police coordinating security in the city of 45,000, the governor said in a statement. "I want to urge my fellow Virginians, who may consider joining, either in support or opposition to the planned rally, to make alternative plans," McAuliffe said.
Live feed from the event below: