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A mass brawl has broken out between white supremacists and anti-Nazi activists in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The fighting prompted Charlottesville City Manager Maurice Jones and Interim County Executive Doug Walker to simultaneously issue a Declaration of Local Emergency for the two jurisdictions.

At least two people have been hurt so far, with injuries described as serious but not life-threatening.

TV pictures showed the clash erupting when the anti-Nazi protesters approached the white supremacists with what looked like a wooden banner.

As they did so, they were met by a wall of men dressed in body armour and helmets, some of whom used pepper spray, police said.

Kicking and punching is seen as the two sides screamed at each other, before retreating.

Earlier, the anti-Nazi group were heard chanting obscenities as the two groups approached each other.

Some police were at the scene, but were not seen intervening during the fight.

It came after a federal judge ordered Charlottesville authorities to allow a weekend rally of white nationalists and other extremists to take place.

The rally was organised to protest against Charlottesville’s decision to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from the city’s Emancipation Park.

Right-wing blogger Jason Kessler filed a lawsuit demanding the right to hold a protest at the spot.

The city said earlier this week that the rally must be moved out of Emancipation Park to a larger one, because of safety concerns.

US District Judge Glen Conrad granted a preliminary injunction on Friday allowing the rally in the park.

The state of emergency allows local officials to request additional resources if needed to respond to ongoing events, authorities said.

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