Police Action at the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville
Opposing groups at the Unite the Right rally prompted a heavy police presence.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The clash between opposing groups took over the streets of Charlottesville even before the Unite the Right's scheduled noon rally ever started.
Pro-white groups and counter demonstrators spent about two hours in repeated skirmishes on East Market Street.
State police say people were throwing cans full of concrete at each other along with pepper spray, tear gas and other weapons.
Police declared an unlawful assembly just prior to the rally's official start time.
"I don't think this is a proud day for Charlottesville and it's not a proud day for Virginia to see two opposing groups who have sides, they have freedom of speech, but to turn to violence is not the way,” said Corrine Geller with Virginia State Police.
"I'm just amazed that the police have allowed people to assault other people and throw things at them,” said Jeff Fogel, protest witness.
An unlawful assembly was declared at around 11:30 a.m. which prompted riot police to respond.
People, including criminal defense attorney Jeff Fogel, are questioning why it took police so long to intervene and call for an unlawful assembly sooner.
Event organizer, Jason Kessler, felt that police were not adhering to terms of the permit that was ordered by a federal judge.
"The Charlottesville city government and police refused to do their jobs. They refused to protect our event and enforce the terms of the permit as ordered by the federal judge. They created an unsafe environment and denied us our rights," said Kessler.
Police have not yet answered any questions at this point.