Ahead of the Unite the Right rally, scheduled to take place Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia, brawls erupted at the University of Virginia campus on Friday night as white nationalists marched through the campus chanting slogans like, “You will not replace us," reports said.
"#Charlottesville" soon emerged as one of the top trends on Twitter as social media users shared pictures of the protesters at the campus. Some Twitter users were reminded of Germany under the Nazis.
A Twitter user also shared a picture of the varsity students protesting against the white nationalists.
The Unite the Right rally, set to take place in the Emancipation Park and McIntire Park, will see the participation of Neo-Nazis, neo-Confederates, and alt-right activists. The rally has been organized against the city's decision to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from the Emancipation Park. The crowd of the protesters and counter protesters was expected to swell up to 6,000 according to CNN.
A similar rally by Ku Klux Klan that took place in July saw police officers using tear gas shells on protesters.
"Unite the Right was expected to draw a broad spectrum of far-right extremist groups – from immigration foes to anti-Semitic bigots, neo-Confederates, Proud Boys, Patriot and militia types, outlaw bikers, swastika-wearing neo-Nazis, white nationalists and Ku Klux Klan members – all of whom seem emboldened by the Trump presidency," according to the U.S. nonprofit Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
The Saturday rally could become "the largest hate-gathering of its kind in decades in the United States," the rights group said.
The City Of Charlottesville earlier approved a permit for the rally at McIntire Park, but there is a possibility that a large crowd of people could gather in the downtown, according to a local news website.
Police were preparing for the possibility of protestors gathering at the McIntire and Emancipation Parks.
Jason Kessler, an alt-right blogger, and organizer of the Unite the Right rally, according to his Twitter bio, originally planned to hold the rally at Emancipation Park but the city announced earlier this week that it should be held at a larger venue because of safety reasons. However, the alt-right blogger objected to the decision in a federal court saying it was a violation of free speech. The federal judge then lifted the emergency injunction Friday.
Anticipating violence in the rally, the city warned the locals about avoiding the area as much as possible.
Referring to the rally, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Virginia) tweeted: "To the white nationalists descending on Charlottesville: go back to where you came from. Hate has no place in Va." The microblogging site remained abuzz with posts about the rally.