This is a breaking news story. We will update with additional details as they become available.
On Saturday, just before 11:00 a.m. ET, Governor Terry McAuliffe of Virginia called a state of emergency in Charlottesville, VA for its nearly 50,000 residents.
Today, according to the Washington Post, hundreds of neo Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members, and other white nationalist-adjacent groups gathered early for a noon rally.
On Friday night, white nationalists gathered at a statue of Thomas Jefferson on the University of Virginia campus to mark the beginning of a weekend-long rally. According to the New York Times, several hundred men and women descended at the location carrying torches with chants of “You will not replace us,” and “Jew will not replace us,” among other divisive slogans.
On Saturday, counterprotesters and white nationalists violently clashed. At approximately 11:40 a.m., police ordered hundreds of people to evacuate downtown Lee Park, after numerous fights broke out before the rally even began. Police cited the event as an unlawful assembly due to the physical aggression.
The far right has been totally driven out. Militia evacuated, traditionalists flee. Anti-racists cry in victory. Watch all of this video. pic.twitter.com/0WZ9Ji5g1v— Jack Smith IV (@JackSmithIV) August 12, 2017
There are reports that violence was sparked after supporters attending the rally, who were allegedly holding shields and waving wooden clubs, rushed through a line of counterprotesters, which included clergy and Black Lives Matter members. Princeton professor Cornel West was also on the ground, leading a counterprotest.
The Unite the Right rally was held in response to the city voting to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee. The statue has yet to be removed. A court ruling is scheduled later this month which will determine whether it will remain.
Donald Trump tweeted out a response to the news, writing, “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!”
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
Before 2 p.m., journalist Alex Rubinstein tweeted out a video of an unidentified driver plowing through a crowd of protesters.
It has been confirmed by multiple outlets that at least one civilian has died. It is unconfirmed if this fatality was the result of the car accident.
I am heartbroken that a life has been lost here. I urge all people of good will--go home.— Mike Signer (@MikeSigner) August 12, 2017
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