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State Of Emergency Declared In Virginia Amid White Nationalist Rally

The rally comes after an effort to remove Confederate monuments and symbols from the Virginia town of Charlottesville. So for three people have been killed

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA -- Virginia's governor declared an emergency, and police worked to disperse hundreds of protesters in Charlottesville after clashes broke out ahead of Saturday's "Unite the Right" rally of white nationalists.

Fistfights and screaming matches erupted shortly before rally's scheduled noon ET start.

The skirmishes unfolded following a scuffle Friday night between torch-bearing demonstrators and counter-protesters at the nearby University of Virginia.

Saturday's rally was the latest event drawing white nationalists from across the country to this Democratic-voting college town -- a development precipitated by the city's decision to remove symbols of its Confederate past.

President Donald Trump tweeted: "We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Lets come together as one!"

Police in riot gear stood shoulder to shoulder behind shields early Saturday afternoon, at times advancing toward crowds. Members of the Virginia National Guard also were there.

According to the Associated Press, a vehicle also plowed through a large group of protesters at one point.

One person has died as a result of that incident. Two more have died from a helicopter crash near Charlottesville as well.

(PHOTO: Chet Strange/Getty Images/RTV6)

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