By David G. McAfee
As I’m writing, the “Unite the Right” rally is beginning in Charlottesville. The event is just starting, but already Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has declared a state of emergency in response to violent outbursts.
The rally has also been dubbed an “unlawful assembly.”
The city of Charlottesville has declared Saturday’s gathering at Emancipation Park — site of the scheduled “Unite the Right” rally” of white nationalists and right-wing protesters — an unlawful assembly. Police officers are speaking on bullhorns, directing people to leave the park… City officials also declared a local emergency, which will allow officials to request additional resources, if needed, to respond.
Why all the drama? These are just peaceful protesters, right? No. According to the Washington Post:
Hours before a noon rally was set to begin Saturday, violent skirmishes broke out between bands of white supremacists and counterprotesters who have converged on this college town around the issue of a Confederate statue.
Men in combat gear, some w[e]aring bicycle and motorcycle helmets and carrying clubs and sticks and makeshift shields fought each other in the downtown streets, with little apparent police interference. Both sides sprayed each other with chemical irritants and plastic bottles were hurled through the air.
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