Both Republican and Democratic leaders on Saturday condemned the white nationalists who are protesting and clashing with counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“The views fueling the spectacle in Charlottesville are repugnant,” House Speaker Paul Ryan tweeted. “Let it only serve to unite Americans against this kind of vile bigotry.”
As of Saturday afternoon, President Trump had not yet weighed in on the unrest.
The protesters are gathering for a “pro-white” rally to protest Charlottesville’s decision to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from a city park.
Thousands of supporters and counter-protesters screamed, chanted, threw punches, hurled water bottles and unleashed chemical sprays on each other Saturday morning.
Virginia Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency on Saturday.
“The acts and rhetoric in #Charlottesville over past 24 hours are unacceptable & must stop. A right to speech is not a right to violence,” McAuliffe said.
Ronna McDaniel, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, said Saturday the “hate & bigotry on display in #charlottesville is dangerous & cowardly.”
“Free speech may give them the right to do this but also empowers us to unite to loudly speak out against it,” McDaniel tweeted.
Likewise, Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez spoke out against the gathering.
“The vile & bigoted display of hate in #Charlottesville has no place in America,” Perez said. “We stand against white supremacy wherever it appears.”
Clashes first broke out Friday night after a judge cleared the way for the protest to continue as planned. The unrest prompted Gov. Terry McAuliffe to place National Guard members on standby and encourage Virginians to stay away from the event.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.