White supremacists who descended on Washington for the anniversary of deadly protests in Charlottesville were greatly outnumbered on Sunday and drowned out by anti-hate protesters.
The second “Unite the Right” rally drew controversy after last year’s event ended with widespread clashes and an attack from one of the white supremacist demonstrators that left a woman dead. As CNN reported, the rally moved this year to Lafayette Park just outside the White House, but the white supremacists this year found that they were greatly outnumbered.
Though there were no final estimates for the number that showed up, some at the rally noted that there were nearly 10 anti-hate protesters for every white supremacist. As CNN reported, the counterprotesters drown out the white supremacists with shouts of “Nazis go home!” and “You’re not welcome here!”
Some of the opposition was tightly organized, with a number of groups including Black Lives Matter showing up to show their solidarity against hate. As the Washington Post noted, others took a more adversarial stance with the white supremacists in attendance.
“Many in the crowd of counter-protesters wore the signature black masks, helmets and body armor of the Antifa movement, which clashed violently with white supremacists in Charlottesville. A heavy police presence kept them separated from [organizer Jason] Kessler and his co-demonstrators, but it was unclear what would happen when the rally ended and the two sides were given a chance to mingle.”
There was also representation from religious groups, some of which said they had an obligation to attend and speak out against hate.
“This place, this city, this country is a country of inclusivity and not white supremacy,” said Rev. Graylan Hagler, the first speaker in the rally (via the Washington Post). “We are people that stand up for racial justice and racial inclusivity. We will not be silenced.”
Many of the counterprotesters invoked the memory of Heather Heyer, the woman killed last year after a white supremacist drove his car through a crowd of anti-hate protesters. Her death was the conclusion of a day that saw numerous violent clashes.
After the violence that marked last year’s rally in Charlottesville, police in Washington were prepared to prevent any violent outbursts. The main group of white supremacists at the rally had a dedicated train car to reach the event, and had a police escort throughout the event. Officers also took action to keep the masked counterprotesters apart from white supremacists.