University of Virginia police dispersed a gathering of far-right protesters on the Charlottesville, Va. campus Friday night ahead of a planned demonstration by white nationalists, white supremacists and alt-right groups on Saturday.

Police arriving on the scene declared the protest on Friday an "unlawful assembly" and told demonstrators to disperse, video footage of the gathering shows. 

Protesters holding torches clustered on the campus in an apparent lead-up to a Saturday demonstration protesting Charlottesville's decision to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. 

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Photos and video of the protests posted on social media Friday showed demonstrators marching through dark walkways, chanting slogans like "white lives matter" and "you will not replace us."

The protest planned for Saturday has ignited intense opposition in Charlottesville, and large counter-demonstrations are expected to materialize in response.

Even on Friday, a group of protesters turned out in opposition to the far-right demonstration, chanting "black lives matter."

Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer condemned the protest in a statement, calling the gathering "a cowardly parade of hatred, bigotry, racism, and intolerance."

"Everyone has a right under the First Amendment to express their opinion peaceably, so here's mine: not only as the Mayor of Charlottesville, but as a UVA faculty member and alumnus, I am beyond disgusted by this unsanctioned and despicable display of visual intimidation on a college campus," he said.