White nationalist rally in Virginia sparks violent clashes, emergency declaration

The usually quiet university city of Charlottesville, Virginia, declared a state of emergency Saturday morning after a Unite the Right gathering of far-right extremists began with early, violent clashes with counterprotesters.

The state of Virginia shortly after declared the gathering unlawful and ordered both rallygoers and counterprotesters to “disperse immediately.”

The Virginia State Police posted videos on Facebook of officers breaking up the Unite the Right gathering and counterprotest. Warning: The videos contain some offensive language and images.

One video shows an officer in announcing to milling crowds: “This gathering has been declared as to be an unlawful assembly; in the name of the Commonwealth, you are commanded to immediately disperse; if you do not disperse immediately you will be arrested.ā€ Another video shows some of the crowd.

As of about 12:30 p.m., Charlottesville police reported that one person had been arrested and eight people had been treated for injuries by emergency workers.

Saturday’s far-right rally and clashes came after a Friday night march by torch-bearing white nationalists on and near the University of Virginia campus, which resulted in brawls with protesters countering the event.

The Unite the Right event Saturday was supposed to begin at noon, but people both in support and opposed to the rally began gathering earlier and by 11 a.m. two people had been treated for serious but non-life-threatening injuries after an altercation at the city’s Emancipation Park, according to city officials.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has placed the National Guard on standby in preparation for today’s rally, an action he took even before the clashes Friday night.

Charlottesville has become a flash point for white nationalists and protesters seeking to counter them since a City Council vote in February to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a park formerly called Lee Park but renamed in June as Emancipation…

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