A state of emergency has been declared around Charlottesville, Virginia, amid clashes between “Unite the Right” white nationalist demonstrators and counterprotesters.
Gov. Terry McAullife declared a state of emergency shortly before 11 a.m. ET, moments before the rally was scheduled to begin at noon at Emancipation Park in Charlottesville, according to a tweet sent from the Democratic governor’s Twitter account.
Using megaphones, police declared an unlawful assembly at about 11:40 a.m., and gave a five-minute warning to leave Emancipation Park, where hundreds of neoNazis, Ku Klux Klans members and other white nationalists had gathered to protest the removal of a Confederate statue. They were met by equal numbers of counterprotesters, including clergy, Black Lives Matter activists and Princeton professor Cornel West.
Both the city of Charlottesville and the Albemarle County have declared a local state of emergency, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.
**This is a developing story and will be updated**
12:50 p.m. ET – First Lady Melania Trump urges the violence to stop:
Our country encourages freedom of speech, but let’s communicate w/o hate in our hearts. No good comes from violence. #Charlottesville
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) August 12, 2017