Video circulating on social media showed a car plowing into a group of counter-protesters. A state official confirmed that the driver, a man, has been arrested.
Multiple ambulances rushed to the scene soon after the incident, which took place early in the afternoon.
WARNING: Video contains disturbing content not suitable for all viewers. Horrifying footage shows a car speeding up and down a street, ramming into protesters in Charlottesville Saturday.
A witness told Reuters the driver of the vehicle appeared to intentionally mow down the protesters.
“From what I saw, it looked extremely deliberate,” said Will Mafei, 23, of Charlottesville, adding that he also witnessed the vehicle hitting pedestrians as it was being driven in reverse.
Charlottesville police advised residents to stay away from the area.
WATCH: Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe tells white ‘supremacists, Nazis to go home’
Thousands of people had been expected to attend the “Unite the Right” rally to protest plans to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee, a Confederate army general during the American Civil War.
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency around 11 a.m., after violent skirmishes began to break out between far-right demonstrators and counter-protesters. The gathering was labelled an “unlawful assembly,” with police moving in to disperse the protesters.
WARNING: Video contains disturbing content not suitable for all viewers.
Later on Friday, two more people were reported dead after a Virginia State Police helicopter went down in a wooded area just outside Charlottesville. Police said the crash was linked to the Charlottesville rally, bringing the total number of deaths connected with the rally to three. Officials didn’t elaborate on how the crash was related to events in Charlottesville.
– With files from Reuters and The Associated Press
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