Violent clashes and state of emergency declared in Virginia
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (FOX NEWS) — The governor of Virginia and officials in Charlottesville have declared a state of emergency Saturday ahead of the “Unite the Right” rally as tensions rose and small clashes broke out.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared the state of emergency after rally supporters and counter-protesters screamed, chanted, threw punches, hurled water bottles and unleashed chemical sprays on each other Saturday morning.
Men dressed in militia uniforms were carrying shields and openly carrying long guns.
The Virginia State Police tweeted that officers had made arrests following the unlawful assembly declaration.
City officials said the declaration allows them to request additional resources to respond to the clashes expected between hundreds of white supremacists and those opposing them.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan tweeted: “The views fueling the spectacle in Charlottesville are repugnant. Let it only serve to unite Americans against this kind of vile bigotry.”
Clashes also broke out Friday night after a judge cleared the way for the protest to continue as planned. The unrest prompted Gov. Terry McAuliffe to place National Guard members on standby and encourage Virginians to stay away from the event.
Right-wing blogger Jason Kessler planned what he called a “pro-white” rally to protest Charlottesville’s decision to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from a city park. Thousands of people are expected to pack the area.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.