CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Fights erupted and multiple people were injured when a car plowed through a crowd Saturday as white nationalists and counter-protesters violently clashed here — prompting Charlottesville police and Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe to declare a state of emergency.

 Violence Breaks Out At White Nationalist Protest 0:28

Supporters gathered in Emancipation Park Saturday morning in anticipation of a noon rally held by "Unite the Right." The aim of the rally was to protest the removal of a statue honoring Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. The park was formerly known as Lee Park.

State police and members of the Virginia National Guard surrounded the park after McAuliffe declared a state of emergency and the city of Charlottesville declared the alt-right protest an unlawful assembly — effectively cancelling the demonstration before its planned start time.

Image: Members of white nationalists are met by a group of counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, Aug. 12, 2017.
 
Members of white nationalists are met by a group of counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, Aug. 12, 2017. Joshua Roberts / Reuters