Donald Trump has condemned the violence ahead of a far-right, white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virgina.
City, county, and state authorities have been prompted to declare a state of emergency due to the clashes between those protesting the plans to remove a statue honouring Confederate general Robert E Lee from a Charlottesville park and counter-protesters.
Mr Trump responded to the outbreak of violence ahead of the “Unite The Right” rally through Twitter, saying “we ALL must be united and condemn that hate stands for.”
He stops short of condemning the racism issue involved in the removal of the Civil War General’s statue. The message was retweeted by the official Presidential Twitter account.
First Lady Melania Trump, who rarely tweets, has also responded to condemn the violence in Virginia. It is from the official Twitter account.
Local media reports that riot people and the National Guard are ready to go, but state police are on the scene.
There have been reports of pepper spray being used by protesters on both sides as well as bottles being thrown and physical altercations erupting.
Earlier in the day there was video footage of alleged members of a militia marching through the streets of Charlottesville armed with assault rifles and wearing tactical gear. There have not been any reports of gunshots as yet.