White nationalists, counter-protesters clash at UVA

The white nationalists carrying torches on UVA's campus Friday night. (The Cavalier Daily)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WSET) - Ahead of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, hundreds took to the University of Virginia's campus Friday night, according to the Cavalier Daily.

The UVA news outlet reports that many of the white nationalists, led by Jason Kessler, carried torches on their march from Nameless Field to the Lawn, before ending at the Thomas Jefferson Statue by the Rotunda.

The white nationalists chanted things like:“White Lives Matter,” “You will not replace us!” and “Whose streets? Our streets!,” the Cavalier Daily reported.

There were counter-protesters at the Jefferson Statue who were reportedly linked arm-in-arm as the white nationalists continued their chanting.

“This is not something that we thought would ever happen, that we would ever see in our lifetime,” Spratley, one of the counter-protesters, told the Cavalier Daily. “It’s wild.

"Police declared the march an unlawful assembly and separated the two groups, but not before several were injured and reported being pepper-sprayed — it’s unclear where the alleged pepper spray came from. Marchers also began swinging and throwing their lit tiki torches, adding to the chaos of the event," the Cavalier Daily reported.

After the marchers dissipated, the counter-protesters returned and began chanting "Black Lives Matter."

University President Teresa Sullivan released a statement after everything was over saying:

"As President of the University of Virginia, I am deeply saddened and disturbed by the hateful behavior displayed by torch-bearing protesters that marched on our Grounds this evening. I strongly condemn the unprovoked assault on members of our community, including University personnel who were attempting to maintain order.
Law enforcement continues to investigate the incident, and it is my hope that any individuals responsible for criminal acts are held accountable. The violence displayed on Grounds is intolerable and is entirely inconsistent with the University’s values."

In preparation for the rally, Governor Terry McAullife released a statement saying that Virginia State Police, the National Guard, and the Department of Emergency Management are all on standby.

University of Virginia Hospital staff confirmed they will have extra staff Saturday in case of an emergency.

The Cavalier Daily graciously let ABC 13 use their videos and content to create this story.

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