First Lady Melania Trump urged a halt to violent clashes that broke out Saturday between far-right groups and counterprotesters in Charlottesville, Va.
"Our country encourages freedom of speech, but let's communicate w/o hate in our hearts," the first lady tweeted. "No good comes from violence."
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
Trump's call for a de-escalation of violence in the Virginia college town came as the state's governor, Terry McAuliffe, declared a state of emergency and police ordered protesters gathered in Charlottesville's Emancipation Park to disperse.
Her husband, President Trump, issued a statement nearly an hour later condemning the violence in Charlottesville and urging unity amid the chaos.
"We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for," Trump tweeted. "There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Lets come together as one!"
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
White nationalists, white supremacists and alt-right groups were set to hold a demonstration at noon opposing the city's decision to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
But in the hours before the so-called "Unite the Right" rally was scheduled to take place, groups of opposing protesters clashed on the streets of the downtown Charlottesville.
Police in riot gear responded to the chaos, marching on the scene as some protesters appeared to leave the area.
Updated at 1:35 p.m.