Hundreds of marchers carried torches and chanted things like "White lives matter!" and "Jews will not replace us!" at a "Unite the Right" torch rally at the University of Virginia campus Friday night.
President Donald Trump on Saturday blamed "many sides" for the violent clashes between protesters and white supremacists in Virginia and contended that the "hatred and bigotry" broadcast across the country had taken root long before his political ascendancy.
Albeit different urban communities, for example, New Orleans, St. Louis and Austin have battled with the Confederate landmarks issue, it is Charlottesville where the mobilizes are happening.
REUTERS UNDER ATTACK He was then chased away as tensions exploded in Virginia
But fighting broke out way before the noon rally, starting Friday night and then again Saturday morning.
At least two people have been injured in the clashes at the University of Virginia ahead of the planned Unite the Right rally at Emancipation Park this afternoon.
In preparation for Saturday's demonstration, units of the Virginia National Guard were on alert as the city girded for possible violence.
University President Teresa A. Sullivan "strongly condemned the demonstration", the statement said, adding that the "intimidating and abhorrent behavior displayed by the alt-right protesters was wrong". City officials had announced earlier this week that the protest must be moved to a different park further from the downtown area as they expect thousands of protestors to show up.
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The Saturday rally could become "the largest hate-gathering of its kind in decades in the United States", the rights group said.
"The University is monitoring the developments in Charlottesville and continues to coordinate with state and local law enforcement", the school said in a statement.
The incident capped off a day of violence and chaos that began when white nationalists gathered for a rally, waving confederate flags and chanting Nazi slogans.
"Today, in 2017", he continued, "we are instead seeing a cowardly parade of hatred, bigotry, racism, and intolerance march" in the hometown "of the architect of our Bill of Rights". They were outnumbered by hundreds of jeering counter-protesters. The rally has been organized against the city's decision to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from the Emancipation Park.
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Charlottesville's mayor expressed outrage at the gathering of white nationalists, who at one point stopped to pay tribute to a statue of Thomas Jefferson, a founding father who owned slaves. "I think most of us are just anxious, we don't want there to be violence", business owner Michael Rodi said of the rally. But, he said, "we're going to start standing up for our history".
"Our constitutional First Amendment rights were violated", Kessler said, declining to comment on whether his group would try to stage another rally in Charlottesville. However, the alt-right blogger objected to the decision in a federal court saying it was a violation of free speech.
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