Demonstrators and counterprotestors began gathering around Emancipation Park in Charlottesville just after 9 a.m. on August 12. Many credit Spencer with popularizing the term "alt-right" as he garnered national media attention after being heard shouting "Hail Trump!" at a white nationalist convention in Washington, D.C., and later, being punched in the face on Inauguration Day while giving an interview.
The clashes prompted the governor to declare an emergency and halt the rally, and President Donald Trump condemned the violence. The president has received previous criticism for being slow to condemn acts of hate done in his name.
Police reportedly separated the two groups, having declared unlawful assembly.
Federal Judge Glen Conrad granted a preliminary injunction Friday evening in the lawsuit Jason Kessler filed against the city of Charlottesville, allowing Saturday's "Unite the Right" rally to remain in Emancipation Park. Police in riot gear ordered demonstrators to disperse as they marched onto the scene Saturday. It was one of many displays of unvarnished racism and hate from rally attendees. On July 8, about three dozen members of a regional Ku Klux Klan group protested in the city. Kessler says that's a free speech violation. No good comes from violence. Victor Glasberg, Kessler's attorney, noted the city did not ask for counter-protests planned in Justice Park and McGuffey Parks to be moved.
It is set to take place at Emancipation Park, formerly Lee Park, where the statue of the general stands.
Video footage showed the auto plowing through a group of people protesters after police broke up clashes between white nationalist demonstrators and counter-protesters.
Organizers say the Unite the Right rally on Saturday aims to "unify the right-wing against a totalitarian Communist crackdown" and to protest "displacement level immigration policies" in the U.S. and Europe. The organization posted on its Twitter account that members had arrived in Charlottesville.
The City of Charlottesville said 15 people were injured at the site of the rally.
Eventually both sides threw punches and pushed each other as police moved in to break up the confrontation.
White nationalists groups are planning to hold the Unite the Right rally to condemn what they see as the persecution of white people in the US and the erasing of White history from America's identity.
But fighting broke out way before the noon rally, starting Friday night and then again Saturday morning.