Police work at the car crash site following a violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, the United States, Aug. 12, 2017. (Xinhua/Yin Bogu)
WASHINGTON, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Donald Trump condemned hatred "on many sides" after at least one was killed and another 19 injured during a violent white nationalist rally on Saturday in Charlottesville in the state of Virginia.
"We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides," Trump said in a short statement at a press conference in New Jersey, where he is having a working vacation.
"It's been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. This has been going on for a long, long time," he continued, referring to the violent clashes erupting at the pre-planned white nationalist rally in downtown Charlottesville earlier on the day.
"We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America," Trump tweeted hours earlier. He didn't mention white nationalists and the alt-right movement in his remarks.
At least one person was killed and 19 injured in a multiple car crash during the violent "Unite the Right" rally in the downtown, according to Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signer and local hospital officials. Police said at least three vehicles were involved in the incident.
"I'm hearing 9 people hit now. One eyewitness tells me: 'I saw bodies flying'," a netizen nicknamed @JDeanSeal tweeted around 2:00 p.m. ET.
Video on social media showed a car at high speed rear-ended another car, then backed up and rammed into pedestrians. Local police later said the car driver now is in custody.
Just before the incident, thousands of white nationalists, neo-Confederates and right-wing protesters, as well as groups that oppose them, clashed at the Emancipation Park, the planned site of the rally. There are reports of urine being tossed at reporters and the air is said to be filled with pepper spray, mace and tear gas.
The state police dispersed the gathering after Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe declared the state of emergency Saturday morning. However, white nationalist leader Richard Spencer reportedly vowed to gather again for a future protest against the city's decision to remove a bronze statue of Confederate General Robert Lee in the Emancipation Park.
"This represents a turning point for the people of this country," former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke spoke at the rally. "We are determined to take our country back. We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump."
Before the Saturday rally, hundreds of white supremacists marched through the University of Virginia campus in central Charlottesville on Friday night, waving torches and chanting "White lives matter", "You will not replace us", "Jews will not replace us", and so on.
"Many of the individuals coming to Charlottesville are doing so in order to express viewpoints many people, including me, find abhorrent," said the state governor in a statement. He blamed the Saturday violence on "mostly out-of-state protesters."
Many protesters "express beliefs that directly contradict our community's values of diversity, inclusion and mutual respect," Teresa Sullivan, President of the University of Virginia, said in a statement released hours before the rally.
Charlottesville, home of Thomas Jefferson and the University of Virginia, has become the latest Southern battleground over the contested removal of Confederate monuments.
In April, the city council voted to remove the bronze statue of pro-slavery Confederate General Robert Lee. The removal is on hold pending litigation but has angered many white supremacists since the council voting.