Governor Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency in downtown Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday, blaming “mostly out-of-state protesters” for a morning of violent clashes. White alt-right activists and white supremacists were clashing with counter-protesters as police dispersed the crowd at a rally against city’s decision to remove the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from a city park.
“Governor McAuliffe has declared a state of emergency to aid state response to violence at Alt-Right rally in Charlottesville,” the governor tweeted. He then issued a statement saying, “I am disgusted by the hatred, bigotry and violence these protesters have brought to our state over the past 24 hours.”
According to McAuliffe, state troopers and the Virginia National Guard are on hand to support the local authorities.
President Donald Trump weighed in on the morning riots only at 1 PM, tweeting: “We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Lets come together as one!”
The ADL issued a tweet urging folks to sign its online “Diversity Is Strength” petition, protesting anti-Semitic statements by Michael Hill, organizer of the Charlottesville Unite the Right rally. Hill the battle cry, “If you want to defend the South and Western civilization from the Jew and his dark-skinned allies, be at Charlottesville on 12 August.”
The fighting broke out in Charlottesville on Friday night and continued into Saturday morning. Emancipation Park, was packed with hundreds of neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klanners and white nationalists wearing helmets and carrying bats and clubs who were challenged by about as many opponents, led by Princeton professor Cornel West and including clergy and Black Lives Matter activists.
At about 11:40 AM police declared the assembly in the park illegal, issuing a five-minute warning for participants to leave.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) tweeted: “The views fueling the spectacle in Charlottesville are repugnant. Let it only serve to unite Americans against this kind of vile bigotry.”
First Lady Melania Trump asked protesters to communicate without hate, in a tweet that went: Our country encourages freedom of speech, but let’s communicate w/o hate in our hearts. No good comes from violence. #Charlottesville.