A “White Civil Rights Rally” has been given approval and will take place in Washington on the anniversary of last summer’s deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, New York Magazine is reporting.
Jason Kessler, the man who organized the Charlottesville rally to protest the removal of a Confederate memorial, applied for and received permission from the National Park Service to hold an event “protesting civil rights abuse in Charlottesville Va / white civil rights rally.” A preliminary outline of the event suggests that participants will meet at an as-yet-unspecified place in Washington (that will be determined by D.C. police), walk to Lafayette Square, across the street from the White House, and then return to the meeting point. Kessler says on his application that he expects about 400 people to attend.
The event will take place on August 11 and 12, the same dates when, in 2017, the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville turned deadly.
Far-right Organizers of Charlottesville Rally Get Approval for D.C. March Near White Househttps://t.co/LMp3cHnBRG
— Haaretz.com (@haaretzcom) June 21, 2018
Ostensibly, the goal of the “Unite the Right” rally was to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee from a city park. But with the preponderance of Nazi flags and other white supremacist regalia present among the participants, it became clear that the event was actually a white supremacist rally. Organizer Nathan Domingo even said that the purpose of the event was to unify the White Nationalist movement in the U.S., as The Modesto Bee reported at the time.
The events of the first day, Friday, August 11, were largely peaceful. On that night, however, shocking images of angry white supremacists holding burning torches emerged from the scene.
i'd forgotten that this happened last August. white nationalists surrounding counter-demonstrators in Charlottesville (NYT). feels like a distant nightmare. but these people are still out there even if they've extinguished their torches. a very present nightmare. pic.twitter.com/4BtlQvYKAF
— Naomi Eva (@NAnarty) June 17, 2018
On the second day of the event, things turned violent. As white supremacists chanted white supremacist and Nazi-era slogans, according to CNN, counter-protesters linked arms, sang, and prayed.
Eventually, the two sides – which Donald Trump said there were “very fine people on both sides” – began clashing violently with one another. The violence culminated when a vehicle, allegedly driven by James Alex Fields Jr., rammed into a crowd of people. Nineteen people were injured, and Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old paralegal from Charlottesville, was killed. Fields has been charged with second-degree murder.
For the Washington rally, it seems that Kessler expects counter-protesters, saying in his application that “members of Antifa affiliated groups will try to disrupt.” Antifa, for those not familiar, is a self-described “anti-fascist militant group.”
Kessler had initially planned to hold his “White Civil Rights Rally” again in Charlottesville, but his request was denied. He’s since filed a lawsuit, and if a court rules in his favor, he says he’ll hold rallies in both Charlottesville and Washington on the same weekend.