Hundreds of white marchers with blazing torches clashed briefly with counter-protesters on the Charlottesville campus of the University of Virginia on Friday, the eve of a rally planned by thousands of white nationalists.
As the two sides took to the streets for a larger rally on Saturday, Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency.
The events highlight a persistent debate in the U.S. South over the display of the Confederate battle flag and other symbols of the rebel side in the Civil War, fought over the issue of slavery and the South’s attempt to secede.
The marchers chanted as they made their way from Nameless Field through the sprawling campus to the school’s Thomas Jefferson statue, where they were met by counter-protesters, an affiliate of NBC news said.
City officials had planned to move the event to a larger park beyond downtown, citing safety concerns at Emancipation Park.
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