Update 9.26pm: One person has died and 19 others were injured after a car ploughed into a group of people marchin against white nationalists in Charlottesville, Virginia today.

University of Virginia Medical Centre spokeswoman Angela Taylor confirmed the death, while the mayor of Charlottesville Michael Signer said via Twitter that he is “heartbroken” to announce that a “life has been lost”.

Witnesses said a car ploughed into a crowd of people who were protesting against a rally held by white nationalists who oppose the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E Lee by civic officials in Charlottesville.

A state official later said the male driver of a car is in police custody.

Update 7.48pm: A car has ploughed into a group of people marching peacefully through Charlottesville as tensions rise during a white nationalist rally in the Virginian city.

WARNING: Graphic footage, some language used

At least one person was witnessed lying on the ground receiving medical treatment immediately after the incident, which occurred approximately two hours after violent clashes between white nationalists and counter-protesters.

Several hundred protesters were marching in a long line when the car drove into a group of them.

Update 5.50pm: The governor of Virginia has declared a state of emergency in response to a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville which is expected to draw up to 6,000 people.

Terry McAuliffe said on Twitter that the declaration had been made in order “to aid state response to violence” at the rally in the city, about 100 miles outside Washington, DC.

Clashes between white nationalists and counter-protesters mark the latest confrontation in Charlottesville since it voted earlier this year to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E Lee from a city centre park.

The city’s mayor also declared a local emergency and police ordered people to disperse from the area around the statue after several violent clashes broke out.

EARLIER: Clashes have taken place in Charlottesville, Virginia, as white nationalists faced protesters ahead of a rally in the city centre.

Supporters of a rally in protest over the city’s decision to remove a Confederate monument from a local park have been involved in fighting with counter-demonstrators, with water bottles hurled from both sides and chemical sprays also being used.

Men dressed in military-style uniforms were seen carrying rifles and shields in the area.

The clashes came after right-wing blogger Jason Kessler planned what he called a “pro-white” rally in protest over Charlottesville’s decision to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E Lee from a city park.

Thousands of people are expected to pack the area.

There were also fights on Friday night, when hundreds of white nationalists marched through the University of Virginia campus carrying torches.

A university spokesman said one person had been arrested and several people were injured.