The Charlottesville City Twitter account stated that at least one person and 34 others had been injured after white nationalists clashed with counter-protesters in the Virginia city on Saturday.
The death and 19 of the injuries were caused when a car plowed into a group of counter-protestors on Saturday afternoon.
“I am heartbroken that a life has been lost here,” Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer said on his Twitter feed. “I urge all people of good will – go home.”
Several reports, including the New York Times, ABC 7 News, and NBC News’ Chief White House Correspondent Hallie Jackson, confirm that in addition to one death, 19 people have been injured and are being treated by the University of Virginia hospital.
The violent clashes between white nationalist protesters and counter-protesters prompted the governor to declare an emergency and halt a rally over removing a Confederate general’s statue from a public park.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe said via Twitter on Saturday morning that the declaration was made in order “to aid state response to violence” at the rally in Charlottesville, about 160 kilometres outside of Washington, D.C.
President Donald Trump later condemned the altercation on Twitter, saying “There is no place for violence of this kind in America.”
Hundreds of people have already gathered and arrests have been made. Early on Saturday afternoon, a car plowed through crowds of people at the rally, leaving several injured.
The accident involved up to three vehicles, and there were multiple injuries, Charlottesville City spokesperson Miriam Dickler told Reuters in a text message.
Rally supporters and counter-protest groups began chanting, screaming, throwing punches, hurling objects and unleashed chemical sprays on each other Saturday morning.
The rally has been declared “unlawful assembly” by the city of Charlottesville. Both the city and Albemarle County issued a “declaration of local emergency” for the two jurisdictions should they require additional resources, NBC reports.
Charlottesville posted a statement on Facebook assuring that “local officials continue to closely monitor the situation.”
The fighting began Friday night, the eve before the rally, as protesters marched through the University of Virginia campus with torches lit and surrounded a smaller group of protesters stationed around the Thomas Jefferson statue.
Carrying over into Saturday, men dressed in militia uniforms were carrying shields and openly carrying long guns. The Associated Press reports that right-wing blogger Jason Kessler planned what he called a “pro-white” rally to protest the decision by Charlottesville leadership to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from a city park.
The protest was expected to draw crowds in the thousands. A university spokesman said one person was arrested and several people were injured.
NBC reports that supporters of the “Unite the Right” rally faced off with clergy members and other groups who stood in a line singing “This Little Light of Mine” to drown out the profanity.
The counter-protesters responded to the rally with “Love has already won. We have already won.”
Protesters began arriving at Emancipation Park earlier in the day, where the Guardian reports police were supervising the construction of barricades around the statue of Robert E. Lee.
Before 11 a.m., approximately 200 members of the neo-Confederate League of the South, the Traditionalist Workers party and the National Socialist Movement were stopped by additional protesters before continuing towards the southeast gate.
By the time they got through the gate, the Guardian reports there were 500 far-right protesters in the park and over 1,000 counter-protesters in the street.