virginia’s governor declared a state of emergency on Saturday as hundreds of white supremacists, neo-Nazis and heavily-armed militia members fought running battles against counter-protesters in the city of Charlottesville.
The extremists descended on the quiet southern city for a “Unite the Right” rally but the situation quickly turned violent when they were confronted by activists from the anti-fascist movement known as Antifa.
Some of the far-Right activists wore Nazi symbols and shouted “blood and soil” - a slogan of the Third Reich - as they marched into the city while others carried flags of the Confederacy or imitation viking shields.
Other militia members carried assault rifles and wore military-style body armour, although there were no reports of gunfire during the clashes.
The white supremacists exchanged blows with Left-wing demonstrators and in several cases people were hit with pepper spray. Police in riot gear were unable to calm the situation as the two sides fought in the streets.
Several people were left injured after a vehicle "ploughed down the road", according to witnesses.
Police immediately cordoned off the area in downtown Charlottesville at the junction of 4th and Water Streets. The Telegraph saw one woman with a head injury and at least one other with minor injuries.
A witness said: "It was a grey Ford Challenger, it came speeding down the road where there were lots of people. "One person got pinched between the Challenger and an armoured car and others got hit.
"There were people hurt. Then he reversed out at 40mph."
Further down the road three people were being placed in ambulances on stretchers.
Witness Hunter Harman, 20, said protesters were marching when the car drive into them.
He said: "I saw the car. We were marching and I heard a bang. Then I saw people flying though the air, then a bunch of injured people on the ground. I tried to help them.
"He was going so fast, it was 100 per cent deliberate. He banged into the back of two other cars and moved them forward. They accidentally hit people too. Then I didn't see him reverse out."
Shortly after 11am - an hour before the formal rally was due to begin - local authorities declared a state of emergency, saying there was an “imminent threat of civil disturbance, unrest, potential injury to persons, and destruction of property”.
“The acts and rhetoric in Charlottesville over past 24 hours are unacceptable and must stop. A right to speech is not a right to violence,” said Terry McAuliffe, the governor of Virginia.
Donald Trump, the US president, denounced the violence but did not directly criticise the far-Right activists. "We all must be united and condemn all that hate stands for," he said. "There is no place for this kind of violence in America."
His wife Melania had earlier tweeted: “Our country encourages freedom of speech, but let's communicate without hate in our hearts. No good comes from violence.”
David Duke, a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, hailed the rally as a sign of Mr Trump’s success. “This represents a turning point for the people of this country,” he said.