Note: This article contains coarse language and graphic content.
The “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, almost turned into a full-on riot as both white supremacists and counterprotesters not only engaged in shouting matches but also physically attacked each other whenever the opportunity presented itself.
Full water bottles were chucked by counterprotesters at the “Unite the Right” attendees, only to be thrown right back from the alt-right side. Newspaper boxes, paint bombs, sticks, and rocks were also thrown.
Eventually, the white nationalists fell back into Lee Park, the main meeting place for the “Unite the Right” rally. As they fell back, the counterprotesters followed them. Projectiles of all types were still being thrown. Pepper spray was used in copious amounts, leaving the air thick with the anti-riot substance.
As it became clear the fighting was not going to stop between the two groups, Democratic Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency, and the “Unite the Right” rally was canceled. Police officers in riot gear began to push everyone out of Lee Park.
This was met with extreme resistance from the white nationalists. They fought back with police as they were beaten back with riot shields and pepper spray. The alt-righters tried to push back with their own homemade shields.
— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) August 12, 2017
The police were reinforced by members of the Virginia National Guard military police:Julio Rosas/Independent Journal Review
Eventually, all the white supremacists and counterprotesters were removed from Lee Park. As they left, the two groups continued to shout at and fight each other.
In response to the anarchic conditions, President Donald Trump addressed the nation: “What is vital now is a swift restoration of law and order. And the protection of innocent lives. No citizen should ever fear for their safety and security in our society, and no child should ever be afraid to go outside and play and be with their parents and have a good time.”