Rally supporters and counter-protesters screamed, chanted, threw punches, hurled water bottles and unleashed chemical sprays on each other Saturday morning.
Men dressed in militia uniforms were carrying shields and openly carrying long guns.
Authorities have called off the rally, citing concern for the public’s safety. video shows police in riot gear standing shoulder to shoulder behind their shields. Some people appear to be leaving the park, as authorities have ordered.
Jason Kessler said he planned what he calls a “pro-white” rally to protest Charlottesville’s decision to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from a city park. Thousands of people are expected to pack the area.
There were also fights Friday night, when hundreds of white nationalists marched through the University of Virginia campus carrying torches.
The governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, declared a state of emergency while police declared an unlawful assembly alert.
The clashes came despite police efforts to keep the rival protesters apart following a confrontation late Friday in the University of Virginia’s campus in which counter-protesters claimed they were hit by torches and pepper spray.