President declares state of emergency after violence at rally

The violence unfolded after a scuffle on Friday night between the torch-bearing demonstrators and counter-protesters at the nearby University of Virginia.

Protesters in Charlottesville

While dispersing demonstrators from a white-nationalist and right-wing rally, the Virginia State Police said on Twitter, "There are "multiple injuries."

The Governor of Virginia declared an emergency, as the police worked to disperse hundreds of protesters in Charlottesville after clashes broke out before Saturday's "Unite the Right" rally of white nationalists and other right-wing groups.

CNN reports that fistfights and screaming matches broke out shortly before the rally's scheduled start for noon. The violence unfolded after a scuffle on Friday night between the torch-bearing demonstrators and counter-protesters at the nearby University of Virginia.

The rally was the latest event which would draw white nationalists and right-wing activists from all over the country to the Democratic-voting college town -- a development which was instigated by the city's decision to remove symbols of its Confederate past.

The police were seen garbed in riot gear, behind shields early Saturday afternoon, at times advancing toward crowds. Members of the Virginia National Guard also were there.

By 1 p.m. ET, the park had been cleared of the protester.

It still remains unclear how many demonstrators remained in other parts of the city.

"It is now clear that public safety cannot be safeguarded without additional powers, and that the mostly out-of-state protesters have come to Virginia to endanger our citizens and property," McAullife said. "I am disgusted by the hatred, bigotry and violence these protesters have brought to our state over the past 24 hours."

The reason behind the fights remain unclear, however, tensions and rhetoric were intense. A few dozen white men wearing helmets and holding makeshift shields chanted, "Blood and soil!"

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