The Unite the Right rally was slated to begin at noon, but for anyone arriving by then, the rally and main skirmishes would have already been over. Lines of riot police remain, and tensions continue to simmer despite the clash being largely broken up. Trash, paint, upturned trash cans, and newspaper litters the streets around Emancipation Park.
Several rallyers and counter-protestors were injured from beatings, tear gas/pepper spray, and flying objects. Trump has tweeted against “Hate” in response to an image of torch-wielding rallyers in MAGA hats Tweeted by anti-Trump veterans:
As early as 10:30 AM, tensions were already flaring between Alt-Right, White Supremacists, and a few more run-of-the-mill free speech activists and counter-protestors represented by Black Lives Matter, Antifa, Defend CVille, and other groups. Skirmishes began breaking out soon after with hand-to-hand fighting, melee battles with sticks and clubs, and flying bricks, bottles, pepper spray, and smoke bombs. Some have been seriously injured.
Left-wing protestors eventually forced the Unite the Right protestors to fall back, at which point riot police came into formation and informed the crowd that anyone remaining in the park, surrounding streets, or sidewalks would be arrested. Tear gas was launched to force crowds to clear the area.
I spotted military personnel, or just militarized police in full combat fatigues — it’s hard to tell these days — marching in from south of the park to help enforce the order. Meanwhile, the National Guard is still reportedly on standby, but by noon some semblance of order had been restored to Emancipation Park and surrounding streets.
Less than two hours later, however, a car would run over numerous protestors, killing one, and just now, a police helicopter has been reported to have crashed, killing both crew members. Those stories are still developing.
With three dead, several seriously injured, and the possibility of more clashes later in the weekend, a state of emergency had already been declared by Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe before things turned violent. President Trump issued this statement on the violence.
Video below, showing some of the skirmishes during what is already becoming known as the Battle of Charlottesville: