Local authorities declared a state of emergency before a rally of neo-Nazis, neo-Confederates, and other white supremacist groups started in Charlottesville, Va. Saturday morning following clashes between those groups and counter-protesters.
Charlottesville police announced just before 11:30 a.m. Saturday that they were declaring a state of emergency to allow them to bring in more resources from outside jurisdictions.
"Charlottesville City Manager Maurice Jones and Interim County Executive Doug Walker have simultaneously issued a Declaration of Local Emergency for the two jurisdictions," the statement read. "This joint declaration allows local officials to request additional resources if needed to respond to ongoing events in the community, which are currently localized in downtown Charlottesville."
Police originally stated the rally wouldn't be shut down by the state of emergency declaration, but state police announced they had called the rally an "unlawful assembly" shortly before noon Saturday. Arrests were being made of people who refused to leave.
The "Unite The Right" rally in downtown Charlottesville is scheduled to being at noon Saturday. The rally was originally organized to protest the decision to remove a statute of Robert E. Lee, the general in command of a large group of Confederate soldiers in the Civil War, from a park in Charlottesville.
Not long after Charlottesville authorities declared a local state of emergency, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency to aid the response to the rally.
Governor McAuliffe has declared a state of emergency to aid state response to violence at Alt-Right rally in Charlottesville— Terry McAuliffe (@GovernorVA) August 12, 2017
Social media posts from the scene have shown a group — overwhelmingly white men, but some women as well — have flooded into Charlottesville. Many are sporting homemade shields, and reports indicate some have thrown bottles filled with cement at counter-protesters.
Videos show clashes between the white supremacist groups and so-called antifa, or anti-fascist, groups who have shown up in the town to counter the white supremacist rally.
Clash between protesters and counter protesters. Police says "We'll not intervene until given command to do so." #Charlottesville pic.twitter.com/UkRDlNn2mv— ACLU of Virginia (@ACLUVA) August 12, 2017
A rally of tiki torch-wielding white supremacist groups marching through Charlottesville was shut down by police Friday night after the march turned violent and fights with counter-protesters were reported.
Some armed militia groups have also entered the town. They have refused to say which side they are taking, but they are reportedly there to keep the peace.