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VIRGINIA – At least three people were killed and 35 injured in violent clashes between protesters and white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday.

According to the details, the chaos erupted when a car mowed down a group of rival protesters and killed at least one person in a flare-up of violence that challenged US President Donald Trump.

Far-right protesters converged on the university town of Charlottesville at the weekend to demonstrate against a plan to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee, who headed the Confederate army in the American Civil War.

A statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee in Virginia

The statue is one of many Confederate symbols hated by anti-racism advocates but embraced by many white Southerners, who see them as part of their heritage, as well as by white nationalists, who believe in a separate nation for white people.

People fly into air as vehicle drives into a group of protesters demonstrating against a white nationalist rally

After hours of clashes, a silver sedan driving at high speed ploughed into the crowd about two blocks from the park displaying the statue, killing a 32-year-old woman, who has been named by media outlets as Heather Heyer.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) confirmed the casualties and delivered a simple message to white supremacists and Nazis: “Go home. You are not wanted in this great commonwealth. Shame on you.”

McAuliffe declared a state of emergency and added, “You came here today to hurt people, and you did hurt people.”

On the other hand, Donald Trump was a bit reserved in his conduct, contrary to the perception, simply asking for unity through Twitter.

Video on social media and photographs showed the car hit a large group of counter-protesters, sending some flying into the air.

Police held James Alex Fields, jnr, a 20-year-old white man from Ohio on charges relating to the car incident, including second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding and failing to stop at the scene of an accident that resulted in a death.

It was not clear why he was in Charlottesville.