Donald Trump has condemned violence that broke out as far-right, white nationalists held a rally in Charlottesville, Virgina.
City, county and state authorities declared a state of emergency as clashes broke out between those demonstrating against 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 stopped 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, also responded to condemn the violence in Virginia in a message on her official Twitter account.
Local media reported that riot police and the National Guard were ready to go in, but state police were already 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 taking place.
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.