White nationalists were met by counterprotesters in Charlottesville on Aug. 12. A car plowed into crowds, killing one person and injuring 19 others. (Video: Zoeann Murphy/The Washington Post, Photo: Evelyn Hockstein/The Washington Post)

It was billed as a historically large effort to “take America back,” decades in the making. Hundreds of white nationalists, Ku Klux Klan members and neo-Nazis gathered in Charlottesville for a rally that quickly and frequently descended into chaos.

The demonstrators carried U.S. and Confederate flags. They held tiki torches and clubs and donned impromptu battle gear — helmets, clubs, sticks and makeshift shields. At times the “Unite the Right” rally was marked by peaceful marches and chanting. But often, neo-Nazis exchanged blows with counterprotesters in clouds of tear gas and pepper spray.

By the end of the weekend, three people were dead and many others had been injured.

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