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Trump Urges Unity As Violence Erupts Ahead Of White Supremacist Rally

White supremacist demonstrators and counterprotesters clash in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12.

U.S. President Donald Trump has urged people in the United States to unite after clashes in Virginia ahead of a scheduled white supremacist rally.

In a message on Twitter on August 12, Trump said: “We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Let’s come together as one!”

Officials in the city of Charlottesville, Virginia had approved the white supremacist rally for August 12 -- a protest against the city’s decision to remove a statue of General Robert E. Lee, the Confederate military leader during the American Civil War.

But Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency, and permission to hold the rally was withdrawn, after hundreds of white supremacists clashed with counterdemonstrators in Charlottesville on the morning of August 12 -- throwing bottles and unleashing chemical sprays at each other.

Among those gathering in Charlottesville for the white supremacist rally were members of the Klu Klux Klan, far-right militia groups, and far-right activists who espouse a mix of racism, white nationalism, and populism.

The Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center, which both track extremist groups in the United States, said the rally had the potential to be the largest of its kind in at least a decade.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters