Photos show how a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville devolved into chaos and bloodshed

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Rescue workers assist people who were injured when a car drove through a group of counter protestors at the “Unite the Right” rally Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S., August 12, 2017.
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Thomson Reuters

A white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, turned deadly on Saturday after a driver plowed into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing a 32-year-old woman and injuring many others.

Later that afternoon, two Virginia state police officers died in a helicopter crash that officials said was linked to the protests, although they did not clarify the connection.

The chaos originally began Friday evening at a “Unite the Right” rally called by white nationalists in response to a plan to remove a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee from a park in Charlottesville.

The rally prompted counter-protests that continued throughout Saturday, ultimately ending in bloodshed after a driver rammed his car into pedestrians. Charlottesville Police Chief Al Thomas said the driver has been arrested and police are treating the incident as a criminal homicide investigation.

Here’s how the day unfolded:


Hundreds of white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and members of the ‘alt-right’ began marching on Saturday.

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Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla

After clashes with anti-fascist protesters and police, the rally was declared an unlawful gathering and people were forced out of Lee Park, where a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is slated to be removed.

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Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla

White nationalist Richard Spencer was among those who attended and clashed with police.

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Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla

Many of the rally attendees wore camo or what appeared to be protective gear.

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Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla

The clashes between the white nationalists and the counter-protesters quickly turned violent — here, one of the protesters hits another with pepper spray.

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Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla

Here, one white nationalists makes a slashing motion towards the counter-protesters.

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Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla

One counter-protester used a lighted spray can.


Virginia police wore riot gear as they forced the white nationalists out of the park.

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Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla

Police later said that many people were injured from individual altercations.

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Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla

The violence came to a head when a driver plowed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing one 32-year-old woman.


Multiple people were injured from the crash, and police soon said they were investigating the incident as a criminal homicide.


By Saturday evening, police said more than three dozen people had been injured.

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Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla

Some people placed flowers at a makeshift memorial for the victims who died or were injured.

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Getty Images/Win McNamee

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe issued a harsh condemnation of the white nationalists, telling them to “go home and never come back.”

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Getty Images/Win McNamee