Local emergency declared as people protest White Nationalist rally in Virginia

Photo: CNN Newsource

A local emergency has been declared in Charlottesville over the White Nationalist rally Saturday in Emancipation Park that has drawn plenty of protesters, police say.

An unlawful assembly has since been declared and police are making arrests, authorities say.

The group branded it the "Unite the Right" rally and it comes after a federal judge granted a temporary injunction allowing the gathering.

Charlottesville Police have released the following statement:

"Charlottesville City Manager Maurice Jones and Interim County Executive Doug Walker have simultaneously issued a Declaration of Local Emergency for the two jurisdictions. This joint declaration allows local officials to request additional resources if needed to respond to ongoing events in the community which are currently localized in downtown Charlottesville. Scheduled activities outside the downtown area are not impacted by ongoing events or by this declaration at this time. Local officials continue to closely monitor the situation and will provide additional details as they are available."

The University of Virginia Medical Center is preparing to possibly treat patients on a "natural disaster" scale because of the event.

Police say others in the crowd are using pepper spray. At least one brawl has broken out at the gathering, according to the Washington Post.

White nationalist and Alt-Right Movement leader Richard Spencer claims that he and others were maced during the day.

According to the ACLU of Virginia, some of those protesting the rally have been pepper sprayed.

"As the former mayor of this beautiful, inclusive and progressive community, I am saddened that our city may draw thousands who would come here to sow division and hate,” House Democratic Leader David J. Toscano said in a statement. “The alt-right agenda has been brought to Charlottesville by people who are neither from our community nor who represent its values. We will strive to ensure the day does not erupt into violence, and we will redouble our efforts to remain civically engaged so that darkness does not obscure our light.”

The organizers say they're demonstrating against moving a statue of confederate general Robert e. Lee from a city park.

This comes just a day after so-called "alt-right" activists marched with torches on the University of Virginia campus.

“The House Democratic Caucus stands in strong support of the City of Charlottesville and of every person who has been marginalized by discrimination and hate – whether through the coded dog whistles of politicians or by overt violence that we pray we won’t see today,” said Caucus Chair Charniele Herring in another statement. “We thank our law enforcement officers and first responders for putting their lives on the line, today and every day, to keep our communities safe.”

Police said they were expecting thousands of both protesters and counter-protesters.

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