Virginia declares state of emergency during racial rallies as car plows into demonstrators

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      Violence erupted in Charlottesville, Virginia, between white nationalists and counterprotesters, resulting in a fatality. 

      Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe had declared a state of emergency this morning as fights and yelling matches broke out prior to the rally’s start time today (August 12).

      The rally was being held in the progressive college town due to the city’s decision to remove Confederate symbols from the past.

      The city council had voted to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and to rename two parks named after Confederate generals.

      White nationalists, including Ku Klux Klan members and neo-Nazis, had assembled and marched with torches at the University of Virginia on August 11, the night before the rally. As they clashed with counterprotesters, police declared the gathering an unlawful assembly and dispersed the crowd.

      However, tensions boiled over into chaos at the Unite the Right rally was about to be held today.

      Prior to the rally, a sports car sped down the street and plowed into counterprotesters, scattering the crowd. The car crashed into a convertible which hit a van in front of it. The sports car reversed at high speed and exited the scene as people chased after it. 

      Bystanders captured footage of the incident on video.

      The crash resulted in 20 people being taken to hospital for injuries and one death. 

      Charlottesville mayor Mike Signer urged people to return home.

      An additional 15 people were injured in street fights.

      U.S. President Donald Trump denounced the violence at a press conference this afternoon.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook