Scores of white supremacists had been expected to rally on Sunday in Washington, DC, for the second “Unite the Right” rally, but only a small cadre of right-wing demonstrators ultimately showed up — and were vastly outnumbered by counterprotesters.
The small group of white nationalists made their way to Lafayette Square from a local metro station were swamped by a flood of police, press, and counterprotesters. While hundreds of people are out on the streets of the nation’s capital, some reporters estimated that only 20 white nationalists were among them.
This event follows an explosive rally held a year ago in Charlottesville, Virginia, which began with people burning tiki torches and chanting the Nazi slogan “blood and soil,” before the next day devolved into violence. Heather Heyer, who was demonstrating against white supremacists, was killed, along with two police officers who died in a helicopter crash while surveilling the protests. Dozens were injured.
Sunday’s rally in Washington, DC, is scheduled to officially begin at 5:30 p.m. in Lafayette Square, a park adjacent to the White House. White supremacists arrived by metro in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood around 3 p.m., where they were met with boos and screams from the crowd gathered outside.
The group, led by Jason Kessler, marched toward Lafayette Square surrounded by couterprotesters and escorted by police.
Counterprotesters at Lafayette Square were seen chanting “Go home Nazis” and “Shame!” while one person was seen burning a Nazi and Confederate battle flag.
Some counterprotesters wore all-black masks and outfits associated with the radical anti-fascist group that calls itself “Antifa.” The group carried a banner that read “IT TAKES [A] BULLET TO BASH FASH.”
Kessler, the organizer behind the original “Unite the Right” rally, initially planned to hold two anniversary rallies: one in Charlottesville and one in Washington. After his application in Virginia was denied, Kessler filed a lawsuit against the city over the decision in March. He later dropped the suit on Aug. 2.
In his May permit application for Sunday’s rally in Washington, Kessler described the event as a “white civil rights rally” organized to “protest civil rights abuse in Charlottesville.”
Kessler told reporters on Sunday he was “standing up for free speech, which has really been in danger over the last year since Charlottesville.”
In Washington, the Shut It Down DC Coalition, which includes Black Lives Matter DC and the anti-fascist group Smash Racism DC, among nearly 40 other local activist organizations, began their “rally against hate” on Sunday at Freedom Plaza, a short walk from where the white supremacists planned to gather.
“This is for Heather Heyer, Corey Long, Deandre Harris, ICE abolition, open borders, dismantling the prison industrial complex, and ending the settler colonial system,” counterprotest organizers explained on the Shut It Down DC website. “We will confront fascism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, white supremacy, and state violence on August 10–12.”
Far-left demonstrators still gathered in Charlottesville on Sunday where they tried to visit the street where Heyer was killed.
Police had blocked the area, and some protesters blocked media from filming them. They also demonstrated on Saturday.
Heyer’s mother, Susan Bro, was allowed to visit a makeshift shrine to her daughter on the street, which has since been named Heather Heyer Way.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates or follow AngleNews on Twitter.