A weekend of violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, began with an ominous orange glow.
White supremacists march with tiki torches through the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville, Virginia. | (Zach D Roberts/NurPhoto/Sipa USA/Newscom)
Friday night, hundreds of white nationalists carrying lit tiki torches marched through the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville. As they walked toward a statue of Thomas Jefferson, their voices echoed into the night: "You will not replace us;" "White lives matter;" "One people, one nation, end immigration."
Meanwhile, across the street from the statue, some 500 people of faith from different denominations and several states held a prayer service in St. Paul's Memorial Church in response to Saturday's planned "Unite the Right" rally.
During the service, some torch-bearing protesters migrated to the church. Inside, clergy kept the message positive. "Let's take that love to the streets," Rev. Winnie Varghese, of Trinity Church Wall Street in New York City, said to the congregation. Police disbanded the protesters for unlawful assembly and the congregation was directed to file out of a side door to avoid the white nationalists.
Virginia state troopers stand under a statue of Robert E. Lee before a "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville. | (REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)
The "Unite the Right" rally was organized in protest of the slated removed of the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in Emancipation Park. The event was to start at noon.
At sunrise, a group of clergy, many of whom attended the St. Paul gathering, held an early morning service at the First Baptist Church. "[The white nationalist rally will be the] biggest gathering of a hate-driven right wing in the history of this country in the last 30 to 35 years," political activist Dr. Cornel West said. When the service was done, attendees walked to Emancipation Park, where they linked arms and faced the swelling, often armed crowd of white nationalist protesters.
Counter-protesters and clergy walk near Emancipation Park in downtown Charlottesville. | (Albin Lohr-Jones/Pacific Press/Newscom)
Hundreds of white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and members of the "alt-right" march towards Emancipation Park in Charlottesville. Counter-protesters attempt to block the entrance. | (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
A militia member stands in front of clergy during the rally in Charlottesville. | (REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)
Thousands of "Unite the Right" demonstrators, many of whom were wearing Nazi and white supremacist paraphernalia, began gathering around the Lee statue hours earlier than the event was to take place. Militia armed with assault weapons arrived to reportedly provide protection for the demonstrators.
As the crowd thickened around the statue, counter-protesters chanted progressive slogans, some singing "This little light of mine." The battle lines were drawn.
Protesters and counter-protesters face off at the entrance to Emancipation Park. | (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
A white nationalist protester makes a slashing motion across his throat toward counter-protesters in Charlottesville. | (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Tensions and shouting quickly escalated into all-out brawls. White nationalists charged a chain of counter-protesters standing near the entrance of the park. Protesters on both sides brought out mace, threw water bottles and newspaper kiosks. People began beating each other with fists, flag poles, and makeshift weapons.
Before noon, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) declared a state of emergency. Law enforcement cleared the park. But the violence wasn't over.
Members of a white nationalist group clash with counter-protesters in Charlottesville. | (REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)
A protester leaps over barricades inside Emancipation Park. | (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Militia with body armor and combat weapons evacuate pepper-sprayed comrades. | (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
At 1:45 p.m. a car, allegedly driven by James Alex Fields Jr., 20, plowed into a group of peaceful protesters. One person — Heather Heyer, 32, a local paralegal — was killed and 19 others were injured. Another 34, at least, were wounded during the day's clashes.
A car plows into a throng of protesters, injuring 19 and killing one, in Charlottesville. | (Michael Nigro/Pacific Press/Newscom)
Medics tend to an injured woman in Charlottesville. | (Michael Nigro/Pacific Press/Newscom)
A Virginia State Police officer in riot gear keeps watch from the top of an armored vehicle in Charlottesville. | (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
On Saturday afternoon, President Trump made a statement denouncing the violence and bigotry "on many sides" without specifically condemning white supremacists or other extremist groups. (Trump made an additional statement Monday, calling out "KKK, white supremacists, and neo-Nazis.")
As Republicans and Democrats spoke out against Trump's initial tepid response, and protests against the violence broke out around the country, the people of Charlottesville were left to pick up the pieces.
Makeshift memorials began popping up and people gathered at the site of the deadly car crash, near the intersection of Fourth and Water streets, in downtown Charlottesville.
A stranger comforts a man as he kneels by a memorial for a friend injured in the car attack in Charlottesville. | (REUTERS/Jim Bourg)
Members of Mt. Zion First African Baptist Church pray during Sunday services the morning after the attack on counter-protesters in Charlottesville. | (REUTERS/Jim Bourg)
On Sunday morning, church services across the city evoked sentiments of love during times of hate, while state police in riot gear stationed themselves around the unusually quiet downtown.
A vigil in remembrance of Heyer was also planned for Sunday at the University of Virginia. But after possible threats from white nationalists forced organizers to cancel, mourners gathered anyway, at the spot where Heyer was killed.
"This is a city that is praying and grieving," Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signer said Sunday.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe embraces worshipers after speaking at the First Baptist Church in Charlottesville. | (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
A makeshift memorial lies for victim Heather Heyer in Charlottesville. | (REUTERS/Justin Ide)
People gather on the spot where Heyer was killed in Charlottesville. | (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
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