President Donald Trump responded to the violence in #Charlottesville on Saturday by issuing a tweet condemning hate and violence and urging unity in America. (Aug. 12)
President Donald Trump responded to the violence in Charlottesville on Saturday by issuing a tweet condemning hate and violence in and urging unity in America
Hundreds of people chanted, threw punches, hurled water bottles and unleashed chemical sprays on each other Saturday morning at white nationalist rally in Charlottesville.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency and police dressed in riot gear ordered people to disperse after chaotic violent clashes between white nationalists and counter protestors.
Right-wing blogger Jason Kessler had called for what he termed a “pro-white” rally to protest the city of Charlottesville’s decision to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from a downtown park.
It’s the latest confrontation in Charlottesville since the city about 100 miles outside of Washington, D.C., voted earlier this year to remove a statue of Lee.
In May, a torch-wielding group that included prominent white nationalist Richard Spencer gathered around the statue for a nighttime protest, and in July, about 50 members of a North Carolina-based KKK group traveled there for a rally, where they were met by hundreds of counter-protesters.
Kessler said this week that the rally is partly about the removal of Confederate symbols but also about free speech and “advocating for white people.”
Officials have been preparing for the rally for months. Virginia State Police will be assisting local authorities, and a spokesman said the Virginia National Guard “will closely monitor the situation and will be able to rapidly respond and provide additional assistance if needed.”
Police instituted road closures around downtown, and many businesses in the popular open-air shopping mall opted to close for the day.
Both local hospitals said they had taken precautions to prepare for an influx of patients and had extra staff on call.
There were also fights Friday night, when hundreds of white nationalists marched through the University of Virginia campus carrying torches.