CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - AUGUST 12: A Virginia State Police officer in riot gear keeps watch from the top of an armored vehicle after car plowed through a crowd of counter-demonstrators marching through the downtown shopping district August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. The car plowed through the crowed following the shutdown of the Unite the Right rally by police after white nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" and counter-protesters clashed near Lee Park, where a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is slated to be removed. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Scenes of chaos as far-right protestors clash with opposition.

By David Z. Morris
Updated: August 12, 2017 7:30 PM ET

The situation in Charlottesville, Va. appears to be degenerating as a planned rally by white supremacists has been met with large counterprotests, street fighting, armored police, and a declared state of emergency.

In one brawl involving dozens of people, protestors waving Confederate flags clashed with opposition marchers carrying black-and-red flags, which commonly represent anti-fascist anarchism. The two groups swung batons and pummeled each other with shields.

 

There are also multiple reports of aerosol irritants, possibly pepper spray, being used by the clashing factions.

Armed militia members are also present, reportedly aligned with the Unite the Right rally and presenting a looming threat of even greater violence.

In one incident, a car barreled through a crowd gathered to oppose the rally. State police responding to the incident reported multiple injuries to pedestrians. Charlottesville’s Mayor has now confirmed a fatality in connection with the attack.

The scene was captured in a livestream. It shows the bodies of protestors being thrown dozens of feet as the culprit, reportedly driving a gray Dodge Challenger, rams two other vehicles.

In the aftermath, blood could be seen sprayed across the hood of one involved vehicle.

According to one witness who claims he was hit, protestors opposing the Unite the Right rally were obstructing three cars. One driver accelerated suddenly, striking other cars and protestors.

“They were just bulldozing through people,” the witness told a videographer on the scene.

Later on Saturday, a helicopter crashed in Charlottesville, killing two people onboard. Officials told the Associated Press that the crash was linked to the violent clashes, but didn’t specify in what way they were connected.

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