American extreme right calls to 'unite' at rally

Scores of white nationalists holding torches marched across the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville on Friday night ahead of a

Using megaphones, police declared an unlawful assembly at about 11:40 a.m., and gave a five-minute warning to leave Emancipation Park, where hundreds of neoNazis, Ku Klux Klans members and other white nationalists had gathered to protest the removal of a Confederate statue.

Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, in response to a march of torch-bearing white nationalists on Friday night, said "their tiki torches may be fueled by citronella but their ideas are fueled by hate, & have no place in civil society".

In a frightening, blatant example of the rise of white nationalism under the Trump administration, white supremacists carried torches and chanted Nazi slogans before attacking a small group of protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, Friday night.

Amongst the thousands expected to attend the rally are large groups of protesters.

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University President Teresa A. Sullivan, "strongly condemned the demonstration", the statement said, adding that the "intimidating and abhorrent behavior displayed by the alt-right protesters was wrong". The Unite the Right rally is being held to protest Charlottesville City Council's decision to remove the Robert E. Lee statue from Emancipation Park.

Chanting "blood and soil" and "one people, one nation, end immigration", the group rallied around a statue of Thomas Jefferson before they clashed with counterprotesters.

The violence started on Friday, before Saturday's "Unite the Right" rally.

Ralph Northam, Virginia's lieutenant governor and the Democratic nominee for governor, bemoaned that Charlottesville was once again the scene of a white supremacist rally.

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Violence has broken out ahead of a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, forcing city, county and state authorities to declare a state of emergency.

The site of hundreds of white nationalists - majority white men - with torches at night stunned many at the university, even as they were preparing for Saturday's rally.

"Free speech may give them the right to do this but also empowers us to unite to loudly speak out against it", she wrote in a follow-up tweet. A group called the Monument Fund filed a lawsuit arguing that removing the statue would violate a state law governing war memorials.

One single arrest is reported and 8 injuries related to the event. Finally, as we prepare for tomorrow's events, I want to urge my fellow Virginians who may consider joining either in support or opposition to the planned rally to make alternative plans.

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Mike Signer, the mayor of Charlottesville, issued this statement: "I have seen tonight the images of torches on the grounds of the University of Virginia". "As long as that expression is peaceful, that is their right".

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