Charlottesville rally: One dead as car driven by white supremacist ploughs into crowd

Charlottesville: Ohio white supremacist charged with murder after car ramming kills womanReuters

Dramatic footage has emerged on social media of violent protests during the Charlottesville "Unite the Right" rally. Police confirm one person has died in clashes between white supremacists and anti-racism protesters. Two police officers were killed in a helicopter crash near the scene.

One shocking video from the far right rally in Virginia shows people fleeing as a silver/grey Dodge Challenger ploughs into a crowd of Black Lives Matter protesters.

In the graphic footage shared on social media, the car is seen driving at high speed down a narrow street and rear-ending a vehicle in front. It hits one protester who is hurled onto the bonnet of the car. After striking the crowd the driver of the sports car reverses at speed, revealing the damage to the front fender, indicating the full force of the impact.

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Earlier, VA State Police reported "several pedestrians struck, multiple injuries" in #Charlottesville near Water & 4th streets.

The victim - a pedestrian who was crossing the street as the car struck her - is a 32-year-old woman who has not yet been named. 35 anti-fascism campaigners are also thought to have been injured in the car attack, 5 of them of them suffering life-threatening injuries CNN reports.

Members of the public posted images of the vehicle appealing for any witnesses to come forward with the registration plate in order to help police identify the perpetrator of the attack. Police later confirmed they had arrested the driver who was identified as a white supremacist.

GRAPHIC CONTENT WARNING: Video includes scenes of violence and offensive language which may cause distress

Car plows into protesters in Charlottesville, VA after white supremacy rally violenceCredit: Storyful

The far-right protesters, were carrying Confederate flags and wore shields and helmets as they chanted while parading through the streets.

Skirmishes broke out with both sides throwing bottles and rocks and using pepper spray. As the violence escalated riot police were deployed and used tear gas to disperse the crowd.

Members of the public were urged to stay away from the area as Virginia's governor Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency. Shortly before noon city officials dispersed crowds declaring the gathering an "unlawful assembly."

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McAuillife issued a strongly word statement expressing his disgust at the violent protests: "It is now clear that public safety cannot be safeguarded without additional powers, and that the mostly out-of-state protesters have come to Virginia to endanger our citizens and property. I am disgusted by the hatred, bigotry and violence these protesters have brought to our state over the past 24 hours."

Charlottesville mayor Michael Signer said he was disgusted the white nationalists had come to his town and blamed the US leader for inflaming racial prejudices during his presidential campaign.

Mr Signer said: "I'm not going to make any bones about it. I place the blame for a lot of what you're seeing in America today right at the doorstep of the White House and the people around the president."

An unspecified number of protesters have been arrested in Charlottesville, state police confirmed.

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Political leaders and celebrities have reacted on social media condemning the violent protests in Charlottesville at what has been described as 'the largest hate-gathering in decades.'

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!"

Speaking to reporters in New Jersey, where he is on a working holiday POTUS said:"The hate and the division must stop right now. We have to come together as Americans with love for our nation."

First Lady Melania Trump called for peaceful protest tweeting: "Our country encourages freedom of speech, but let's communicate w/o hate in our hearts. No good comes from violence. #Charlottesville"

Former US President Bill Clinton expressed his dismay at the scenes of violence tweeting: "Even as we protect free speech and assembly, we must condemn hatred, violence and white supremacy. #Charlottesville"

Senator Bernie Sanders said: "The white nationalist demonstration in #Charlottesville is a reprehensible display of racism and hatred that has no place in our society."

Some of the world's biggest music stars turned to Twitter to share their sense of dismay at the scenes of violence and hatred in Charlottesville, with many holding President Trump responsible for the nationalist sentiment. Criticising the current administration pop star Lady Gaga tweeted: "I pray a true leader will rise to expel hatred from America. This is not US! This is Anti-American #ThisIsNotUS#Charlottesville #BeKind".

Moby tweeted: "Hey @realDonaldTrump the racists marching in #Charlottesville are YOUR supporters. Your racist speech has empowered them. They are yours."

TV presenter Ellen DeGeneres tweeted poignantly: " Is this America now? We cannot let this stand. #Charlottesville".

The clashes came after a federal judge ordered Charlottesville authorities to allow a weekend rally of white nationalists and other extremists to take place.

The rally was organised to protest against Charlottesville's decision to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from the city's Emancipation Park, Sky News reports.

Two police officers who were monitoring violent demonstrations involving white supremacists and anti-Nazi fascists from a helicopter were killed when it crashed and exploded into flames.

The two pilots were the only people on board the aircraft when it went down in a wooded area south-west of the city.

President Trump addressed the violence in Charlottesville at a press conference, in his first official statement since the protests turned violent.

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