CNN — By Jason Hanna, Kaylee Hartung, Devon M. Sayers and Nicole Chavez, Sat August 12, 2017
One person was killed amid violence on Saturday at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, according to Mayor Mike Signer. “I am heartbroken that a life has been lost here. I urge all people of good will — go home,” Signer wrote on Twitter. He did not provide details as to how the death occurred.
At least seven people were hurt when a speeding car slammed into another car that was navigating through a throng of counterprotesters in Charlottesville, where a “Unite the Right” rally of white nationalist and other right-wing groups was to take place.
Virginia’s governor had earlier declared an emergency, and police worked to disperse hundreds of protesters in the college town after clashes broke out ahead of the rally’s scheduled noon ET start.
Fistfights and screaming matches erupted Saturday, barely 12 hours after a scuffle Friday night at the nearby University of Virginia between torch-bearing demonstrators and counter-protesters.
Saturday’s rally was the latest event drawing white nationalists and right-wing activists from across the country to this Democratic-voting town — a development precipitated by the city’s decision to remove symbols of its Confederate past.
Here are the latest developments:
• Seven people were being treated at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital, spokeswoman Jen Downs said. Downs didn’t have word on their conditions.
State police had said pedestrians were struck Saturday in a three-vehicle crash.
• The declaration was made after fistfights and screaming matches erupted in several locations late Saturday morning.
• Some protesters fired pepper spray at other demonstrators, state police said.
• Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency “to aid state response to violence,” according to a post on his Twitter account.
• An unspecified number of protesters have been arrested in Charlottesville, state police said.Video of the incident shows a gray Dodge Challenger driving quickly down a narrow side street lined with walking protesters. The sports car rams into the back of a silver convertible, which hits the van in front of it. Soon the Dodge driver slams the car in reverse, going back up the street at a high rate of speed, dragging its front bumper. Several people chase the car. As the sports car retreats, a red athletic shoe falls off the bumper.
• President Donald Trump tweeted: “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!”
• Police began to break up crowds shortly before noon after city officials declared the gathering an “unlawful assembly.” Police officers spoke on bullhorns, directing people to leave.
Police in riot gear stood shoulder to shoulder behind shields early Saturday afternoon, at times advancing toward crowds, CNN video shows. Members of the Virginia National Guard also were there.
By 1 p.m. ET, police had cleared the park where the rally was to be held. It wasn’t immediately clear how many demonstrators remained in other parts of the city.
“It is now clear that public safety cannot be safeguarded without additional powers, and that the mostly out-of-state protesters have come to Virginia to endanger our citizens and property,” McAuliffe said. “I am disgusted by the hatred, bigotry and violence these protesters have brought to our state over the past 24 hours.”
It wasn’t immediately clear what led to the fights, though tensions and rhetoric were running hot. At one point, a few dozen white men wearing helmets and holding makeshift shields chanted, “Blood and soil!” Later, another group chanted slogans like, “Nazi scum off our streets!”