People struggle with a Confederate flag as a crowd of white nationalists are met by a group of counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday. (REUTERS/Justin Ide)

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At least one person was killed in Virginia on Saturday after white nationalists clashed with counter-demonstrators and a car plowed into a crowd near the scene of the earlier melee, the mayor of Charlottesville said.

The clashes on Saturday morning prompted the governor to declare an emergency and halt a rally over removing a Confederate general's statue from a public park.

"I am heartbroken that a life has been lost here," Charlottesville Mayor Mike Singer said on his Twitter feed. "I urge all people of good will-go home." He did not give details of who died and what caused the death.

"I am praying that God help us all," Vice Mayor Wes Bellamy said in an interview with CNN. "We are better than this."

Tensions in the city intensified when at least one vehicle plowed into a crowd of people gathered in a street two blocks from the park. Multiple people were injured in the incident, the Charlottesville Police Department said on its Facebook page.

It was not clear whether this incident was connected to the earlier confrontations. But a video shown on CNN appeared to show a silver sedan driving at high speed into the crowd before reversing.

"We're closely following the terrible events unfolding in Charlottesville, Virginia," U.S. President Donald Trump said at a news conference. "We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides."

© 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

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