Emergency was declared by the authorities in the US state of Virginia after violent clashes erupted between white supremacists and counter demonstrators in a rally on Saturday.
The white supremacists were carrying the ‘Unite the Right’ rally when the violence broke out. They were protesting against the planned removal of a Confederate general Robert E Lee’s statue from a park in the college town of Charlottesville.
Police and security forces were deployed in riot gears following the clashes.
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe said, “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.”
“I am disgusted by the hatred, bigotry and violence these protesters have brought to our state over the past 24 hours,” he said in a statement.
The emergency was declared to assist local government in restoring public safety, McAuliffe said while noting that most of the protesters were from out of the state.
Mike Signer, the Charlottesville Mayor condemned the demonstration by white nationalists in a Facebook post. “Today, in 2017, we are seeing a cowardly parade of hatred, bigotry, racism, and intolerance march down the lawns of the architect of our Bill of Rights,” he said.
“I am beyond disgusted by this unsanctioned and despicable display of visual intimidation on a college campus,” he added.
Calling for unity, US President Donald Trump also condemned the violence via Twitter. “We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Let’s come together as one!” he tweeted.
Speaker of the US House of Representatives Paul Ryan described the rally as “vile bigotry”. “The views fuelling the spectacle in Charlottesville are repugnant. Let it only serve to unite Americans against this kind of vile bigotry,” Ryan said.
He was joined by several lawmakers in condemning the violence.
“There’s no place for such hate & violence in our society. Our country needs unity now. The events at #Charlottesville are shameful,” tweeted Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy.
Senate Minority Leader, Charles Schumer said the march and rally in Charlottesville go against everything the American flag stands for.
“Charlottesville hate rallies are in stark contrast to everything our nation represents. We reject white supremacy & bigotry of all forms,” said Congressman Mike Quigley.
The “Unite the Right” rally by white supremacist has attracted leaders and members of the country’s largest neo-Nazi groups.
(With PTI inputs)