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Virginia governor declares state of emergency as white nationalist rally in Charlottesville breaks out in violence

Abby Jackson
A white supremacists stands behind militia members after he scuffled with a counter demonstrator in Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S., August 12, 2017.

(A white supremacist stands behind militia members in Charlottesville, VA.REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe has declared a state of emergency as demonstrations in Charlottesville erupted into violence Saturday morning.

The demonstrations precede a "Unite the Right" rally called by white nationalists in response to a plan to remove a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee from a park in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Thousands of white nationalist protesters, as well as groups that oppose them, have clashed during demonstrations that are currently ongoing.

Two people have been treated for serious but not life-threatening injuries, according to Charlottesville officials.

Images and videos of the protest have appeared on Twitter and depict police confronting protesters and deploying tear gas.

Charlottesville Virginia White Nationalist Protest

(Members of white nationalists clash a group of counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S., August 12, 2017.REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

Former KKK learder David Duke was in Charlottesville, and called the rally a "turning point," saying that protesters would fulfill the promisses of President Donald Trump.

Last night, hundreds of white nationalists clashed with counter-protesters on the University of Virginia's Charlottesville campus.

At one point, marchers gathered around a statue of Thomas Jefferson and a brawl between the two groups broke out.

Protesters have already drawn rebuke from leaders in the community. In a Facebook post, Mike Signer, the mayor of Charlottesville, called the demonstrations by white nationalists a "cowardly parade of hatred, bigotry, racism, and intolerance."

The president of UVA, Teresa A. Sullivan, also condemned the "unprovoked assault on members of our community."

The demonstration in Charlottesville comes just a month after 23 people were arrested and police deployed tear gas after a Ku Klux Klan rally in the city.

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