Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally: what’s happened so far

A planned “Unite the Right” white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, drew nationwide attention as neo-Nazis with torches marched on the University of Virginia campus Friday night and officials called for a state of emergency amid protests Saturday morning.

Many Unite the Right protesters wore white-nationalist and Nazi paraphernalia, a militia arrived armed with heavy weaponry and some individuals wore KKK imagery. Former KKK leader David Duke attended.

Counter-protesters were out in force, too, chanting progressive slogans and singing civil rights-era songs.

Police called the protest an unlawful gathering and attempted to disburse the white nationalists and counter protesters from a central location. Both sides began to march throughout Charlottesville, despite skirmishes and the use of tear gas.

The rally was ostensibly a protest against removing a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from a Charlottesville park. From its original base of right-wing “patriot” groups, the rally started drawing a growing number of neo-Nazis — and become a flashpoint for a resurgent, outspoken white nationalism that drew strength from the campaign and presidency of Donald Trump.

As events unfolded, it became clear that Unite the Right protesters wanted to air a variety of grievances, shouting racial, religious and anti-LGBT slogans.

Friday night, the night before the planned rally was scheduled to begin, a group of about 100 white nationalists marched on the University of Virginia carrying tiki torches and chanting Nazi slogans. Police dispersed the crowd, and one protester was arrested.

Saturday morning, the scheduled rally began at Emancipation Park, where white nationalists; counter-protesters, including church groups; and unofficial “militias” carrying weapons and dressed in camouflage assembled. Fights broke out between rally-goers and counter-protesters:

At least two people were injured in one scuffle, although not seriously, according to Virginia state police. Protesters and counter-protesters were using pepper spray and throwing tear gas canisters:

Police declared the gathering an unlawful assembly. Not long after the rally began, Charlottesville declared a local emergency, and Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a statewide state of emergency. McAuliffe already had the state National Guard on standby, according to ABC News.

As the rally dispersed, white nationalist groups went on the march through Charlottesville, chanting anti-Semitic, anti-immigration, and racist slogans — including “one people, one nation, end immigration, according to the Washington Post’s Joe Heim. They targeted spectators specifically for abuse:

The rally moved to another park in Charlottesville, McIntire Park, while counter-protesters assembled near the courthouse:

While the University of Virginia had planned counter-programming and events throughout the afternoon, it’s been canceled due to the state of emergency.

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