Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency Saturday as far-right groups and counterprotesters clashed on the streets of Charlottesville.
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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 12, 2017
Governor McAuliffe has declared a state of emergency to aid state response to violence at Alt-Right rally in Charlottesville— Terry McAuliffe (@GovernorVA) August 12, 2017
But he said that it quickly became clear on Saturday that “public safety cannot be safeguarded without additional powers.”
“I am disgusted by the hatred, bigotry and violence these protesters have brought to our state over the past 24 hours,” McAuliffe, a Democrat, said. “The actions I have taken are intended to assist local government and restore public safety.”
People who came to VA to spew hate & incite violence have no place here. We stand for inclusion and will not go backwards. Praying for peace— Senator Tim Kaine (@timkaine) August 12, 2017
Video of the chaos shows police dressed in riot gear marching on the scene as some people appeared to leave the park.
Tensions were high in Charlottesville ahead of the protest. Men holding bats and clubs and wearing helmets clashed with one another in the streets, with police doing little to break up the violence according to The Washington Post.
The state National Guard were also placed on standby, but were not in the area where the clashes broke out.
A protest on the campus of the University of Virginia on Friday that appeared to be connected to Saturday's event resulted in at least one person taken away in handcuffs.
Saturday's protest has drawn widespread condemnation by both Democrats and Republicans, who denounced the white nationalist gathering as a display of bigotry.
House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanJuan Williams: Pelosi shows her power Cheney takes shot at Trump: 'I like Republican presidents who win re-election' Cheney allies flock to her defense against Trump challenge MORE (R-Wis.) took to Twitter to condemn the demonstration, saying that the views driving the rally were "repugnant."
The views fueling the spectacle in Charlottesville are repugnant. Let it only serve to unite Americans against this kind of vile bigotry.— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) August 12, 2017
Likewise, Republican National Committee Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel called the demonstration "dangerous and cowardly."
The hate & bigotry on display in #charlottesville is dangerous & cowardly.— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) August 12, 2017
Republican Ed Gillespie, who is challenging Virginia Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam in the state’s gubernatorial race, denounced the white nationalist protest, saying that such “displays have no place” in Virginia.
Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) delivered a forceful rebuke of the demonstration as a "reminder that hate remains a force that we must recognize, reckon with, and fight against."
White supremacists chanting Nazi slogans aren't Virginia or America. They are weak, ignorant, fearful people with citronella tiki torches 1/ https://t.co/e5pkXqpGQd— Rep. Don Beyer (@RepDonBeyer) August 12, 2017
But they are here. They are in #Charlottesville causing businesses to close, hospitals to delay operations, and above all, creating fear. 2/— Rep. Don Beyer (@RepDonBeyer) August 12, 2017
3/3: Their presence is a terrible reminder that hate remains a force that we must recognize, reckon with, and fight against.— Rep. Don Beyer (@RepDonBeyer) August 12, 2017
First Lady Melania Trump tweeted shortly after the state of emergency was declared, asking protesters to communicate without hate. Vice President Pence followed with a statement of solidarity with the president.
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
- This post was updated at 7:33 p.m.