Before events in Charlottesville, Va., took an arguable turn for the worse early Saturday, an all-caps banner headline on the local newspaper the Daily Progress was characterizing the Unite the Right rally as having brought “fire and fury” — a nod to language used this week by President Donald Trump in his improvised threat to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un — to the storied college town.
By midday Saturday, amid clashes between the white-nationalist rally attendees and counterdemonstrators and, reportedly, others, local authorities were seeking to get to grips with the situation, which featured marchers openly carrying firearms, lawful under Virginia state law.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, declared a state of emergency, the municipal police said that the permitted event had evolved into an unlawful assembly, and the doors of the University of Virginia, according to one of the historic institution’s best-known scholars, shuttered:
Governor McAuliffe has declared a state of emergency to aid state response to violence at Alt-Right rally in Charlottesville
— Terry McAuliffe (@GovernorVA) August 12, 2017
The University of Virginia is closed. All athletic events are cancelled.
— Larry Sabato (@LarrySabato) August 12, 2017
It was also reported that all Saturday elective surgeries at the university hospital had been postponed.
An alt-right march was to lead to a noontime rally at Emancipation Park — formerly Lee Park — in central Charlottesville, where a statue of the Confederate military hero has been slated for removal.