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White nationalists at the deadly 2017 Charlottesville rally.

White nationalists at the deadly 2017 Charlottesville rally.

Anthony Crider via Creative Commons License 2.0
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Thousands Converge on DC for White Nationalist Event

Updates

(as of 3:05 pm ET Sunday)

  • Unite the Right 2 participants including organizer Jason Kessler have started their short march from Foggy Bottom Metro Station to Lafayette Square through the campus of The George Washington University. They’re holding American flags and several small posters.
  • They’re surrounded by scores of police and a large crowd of counterprotesters.

(as of 2:50 pm ET Sunday)

  • Unite the Right 2 organizer Jason Kessler and several followers entered the Vienna Metro Station en route to the District. Unite the Right participants were the only ones allowed to enter the Metro station’s north entrance, which is under heavy police guard. Several Metro Transit Police officers accompanied the group.
  • “I’m here to dispel the notion, I’m here to say as chairman of the board of Metro, there will be no special cars, no special trains for anyone next Sunday or, for that matter, at any time,” Metro Board Chairman Jack Evans said last week.
  • A large crowd including counterprotesters and police await their arrival at Foggy Bottom Metro Station.
  • Several counterprotests with hundreds of participants, including Shut It Down DC Coalition and United Against Hate, have already gathered near Lafayette Square and at Freedom Plaza.

Bottom Line

White supremacists are planning a march and rally in front of the White House on Sunday afternoon, on the one-year anniversary of the violent Charlottesville rally that left a woman and two Virginia State Troopers dead.

Unite the Right 2 organizers said they expect “hundreds” of participants. They will likely attract thousands of counter-protesters across the District. Police across the DC metro area have been working to prevent a repeat of last year’s violent clashes.

Worst. Timing. Ever.

Last weekend, Metro came under fire for considering the use of separate, police-escorted train rides for participants of the event.

Last Friday, Metro’s largest union, membership of which consists of “more than 80%” of people of color, spilled the beans about the pre-decisional idea relating to the white nationalist Unite the Right 2. The union and management are locked in contentious negotiations over a new contract. After sharp criticism about “special treatment” over the weekend, Metro nixed the idea in favor of a range of other potential options.

This controversy comes as Metro General Manager/CEO Paul Wiedefeld deals with mounting public frustration about uneven efforts to mitigate impacts from the Red Line shutdown, upcoming major repairs to the Blue, Orange and Silver Lines, and contentious negotiations with the largest Metro Union, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689, which has circulated a petition calling for his resignation.

“Local 689 is proud to provide transit to everyone for the many events we have in D.C. including the March of Life, the Women’s March and Black Lives Matters,” said Jackie Jeter, president of ATU Local 689. “We draw the line at giving special accommodation to hate groups and hate speech, especially considering that the courts granted Metro the ability to deny ads on buses and trains that are ‘issue-oriented,’ we find it hypocritical for Mr. Wiedefeld to make these unprecedented special accommodations for a hate group.”

Metro Board Chairman Jack Evans said this measure would be intended to prevent violence between protesters and counterprotesters.

“We haven’t made any decisions about anything,” Evans said in Saturday’s The Washington Post. “We’re just trying to come up with potential solutions on how to keep everybody safe.”

Street closures and potential march route.

5 Ws

Here are the 5 Ws + a little more info that will help you commute around DC safely that day.

Who

Hundreds of agitators, bottom feeders and insecure shitheads who align themselves to the right side of the American political spectrum. Officials estimate 400 participants, although that could fluctuate as D-Day approaches. They’ll be joined by probably thousands of counter-protesters, some of whom will be rallying at nearby Freedom Plaza.

What

A march beginning at Foggy Bottom Metro and concluding with a rally in front of the White House. This event is timed to mark the one-year anniversary of the Charlottesville neo-Nazi rally that left one young woman and two Virginia State Troopers dead (the latter after their helicopter crashed while tracking the day’s chaos).

When and Where

Sunday, Aug. 12. The group is scheduled to assemble at 2 pm at the Vienna Metro Station. With police escort and a dedicated train (thanks Metro!), they’ll slime their way into DC via the Foggy Bottom Metro Station over the ensuing hour. The march is scheduled to begin at 5 pm from Foggy Bottom to Lafayette Square. The rally is scheduled for 5:30-7:30 pm, at which time they’ll be taken back to wherever the hell they originated.

Here’s the timeline:

  • 2-3 pm: Unite the Right protesters begin gathering at Vienna Metro Station
  • 5 pm: Begin march from Foggy Bottom Metro Station to Lafayette Square
  • 5:30-7:30 pm: Rally at Lafayette Square
  • 7:30 pm: Protesters board transportation and return to their vehicles

Street Closures

If you’re thinking about meeting mom for a late Sunday brunch in the city, you may want to consider areas far from Foggy Bottom, the White House and points in between. The Metropolitan Police Department is closing streets from 9 am to 8 pm to establish large security zones for the first staging point at the Foggy Bottom Metro Station and prospective route march (see the map).

Meanwhile, information about Metrobus rerouting can be found here.

Why

Because of the First Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

And because Halloween is more than two months away.

Our Take

  • Flashpoints: The three potential primary flashpoints are Vienna Metro Station, Foggy Bottom Metro Station and Lafayette Square. If you don’t want to get stuck, avoid those areas at all costs.
  • Go Colonials!: Based on the street closures, the march route goes past or through the campus of George Washington University - another place likely to attract confrontations.
  • Short March: Unencumbered, the march would probably take no more than 15-20 minutes, since the distance between Foggy Bottom Metro and Lafayette Square is less than a mile.
  • Come back with your shield, or on it: Expect a heavy police presence - and for police to intervene before incidents become violent. We suspect DC authorities won’t repeat the mistakes of Charlottesville a year ago. A subsequent independent investigation found fault with Charlottesville and Virginia State Police for remaining behind barricades while violence erupted among protesters and counterprotesters.
  • Leave your swastikas and guns at home, guys: The website for Unite the Rally 2 warns participants to bring American and Confederate flags only, to avoid getting baited into violence, and to not bring weapons. In Washington, DC, all firearms must be registered with the police, by the terms of the Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975. The same law also prohibited the possession of handguns, even in private citizens’ own homes, unless they were registered before 1976.

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