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Torch-bearing white nationalists march ahead of alt-right rally

13 August 2017
Torch-bearing white nationalists march ahead of alt-right rally

Last night, a large group of torch-bearing white nationalists marched through the University of Virginia campus. "I am heartbroken that a life has been lost here".

Meanwhile, on Facebook, Charlottesville mayor Mike Signer said he was "disgusted" by the scenes that emerged from the university.

He urged people to stay away and "deny those ideas more attention than they deserve". Video shows a auto ramming into the back of another auto, causing a pile-up and sending people over the top of the vehicle in front of it.

Officials didn't immediately release any further information and it wasn't immediately clear if anyone was in custody.

Trump took to Twitter early Saturday afternoon to condemn the violence, hours after Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency in an attempt to quell the unrest.

Hundreds of torch-wielding white supremacists marched through the University of Virginia campus, chanting racist slogans and clashing with a small group of counter-demonstrators.

-This breaking news story will be updated.

Groups began gathering early Saturday morning, and police were in position at Emancipation Park and downtown Charlottesville at 6 a.m.

The park used to be named Lee Park, after the Confederate general, but Charlottesville City Council voted to change its name in June. "As long as that expression is peaceful, that is their right".

Right-wing blogger Jason Kessler, the organizer of the rally that is expected to draw "alt-right" activists and white nationalists, filed a lawsuit in federal court Thursday against the city of Charlottesville. President Donald Trump tweeted "There is no place for this kind of violence in America".

Several scuffles broke out at the rally after some of the nationalists swung their torches at people, the paper said, adding that several people were injured at the rally and at least one person was arrested.

But ACLU attorney Victor M. Glasberg said the Emancipation Park location is central to Kessler's rally because of the Lee statue and the controversy that has surrounded the city's decision to remove and rename the park.

President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have called for peace.

The demonstration, which took place ahead of the alt-right Unite The Right event in the city's Emancipation Park on Saturday, led to violent exchanges with counter-protesters on the university grounds.

Organizers say the Unite the Right rally on Saturday aims to "unify the right-wing against a totalitarian Communist crackdown" and to protest "displacement level immigration policies" in the United States and Europe.

A Twitter user also shared a picture of the varsity students protesting against the white nationalists.