Armed white supremacists march in Charlottesville – state of emergency declared

Armed white supremacists march in Charlottesville – state of emergency declared

The governor of Virginia has declared a state of emergency in response to the escalating chaos at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville on Saturday. White supremacists and members of the “Alt-right,” many of whom are armed, clashed with counter-protesters and law enforcement, leaving several people injured.

The day’s events, which unfolded in broad daylight before noon with the country watching, followed Friday night’s “Unite the Right” rally at the University of Virginia, which drew hundreds of white supremacists, many of whom carried torches, in a nod to Ku Klux Klan rallies of the past.

“The acts and rhetoric in #Charlottesville over past 24 hours are unacceptable & must stop,” Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe wrote on Twitter. “A right to speech is not a right to violence.”

Saturday’s rally was organized in protest to the Virginia governor and city council’s plan to remove a confederate monument, and was scheduled to start at noon. Charlottesville’s downtown was roiled by white supremacists hours ahead of schedule, many whom were chanting things like  “white lives matter” and “Jews will not replace us,” and facing off violently with Black Lives Matter protesters and antifa groups.

Others chanted “blood and soil,” a Nazi slogan, pepper-sprayed counter-protesters, and waved flags painted with swastikas.

Many of the white supremacist groups were “very well organized,” in combat gear, with security, and vans, according to a VICE News team at the scene.

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

An unidentified militia in combat gear, some toting assault rifles, were also in the mix. It is legal to carry guns openly in Virginia for anyone over 18. CNN reported that police were making multiple arrests, but it was unclear how many.

White supremacist David Duke, speaking on camera, said that the rally “fulfils the promises of Donald Trump.”

Richard Spencer, a prominent figure within the “alt-right” movement, was also present, and livestreamed the day’s events, writing on twitter “I love the smell of mace in the morning.”

After the state of emergency was called, Spencer tweeted again, this time urging that alt-right protesters leave the area. “Disperse,” Spencer wrote. “Get out of Charlottesville city limits. State of emergency has been called.”

As of noon eastern time, President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions had not yet addressed the violence unfolding in Charlottesville. First Lady Melania Trump, however, did address Saturday’s events:

Additional reporting by Josh Davis


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