Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency Saturday after a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville erupted into violent clashes before it even began. Emancipation Park, the site of the rally, filled up with white supremacists, armed right-wing militias and alt-right groups hours before the rally began at noon, with organizers protesting the city’s plans to remove a Confederate-era monument. Fights quickly broke out when those groups were confronted by counterprotesters, among them Black Lives Matter activists. Protesters were armed with sticks and clubs as they faced off against the counterprotesters, with some of them at one point wielding the Confederate flag like a lance and charging into a crowd. The two sides used chemical sprays on each other and came to blows before police intervened to disperse the crowd. Members of the National Guard were seen arriving in armored vehicles as riot police began blocking off the roads, while several white nationalist groups moved their gathering to another park in the city. Police said arrests were underway as of Saturday afternoon but gave no further details.
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