Unite the Right 2, lead by Jason Kessler, was scheduled to take over Lafayette Square in D.C. from 5:30-7:30pm on Sunday, August 12th. In the permit approved by the National Park Service, a total of around 400 protestors were expected to show up to rally, but reports on the streets say that number was significantly smaller.
Kessler and his followers were escorted out of D.C. by police ahead of schedule. Multiple reports on Twitter say that only a dozen or two of Kessler’s protestors showed up to Lafayette Park. About an hour and a half after arriving, police tried breaking up the crowds to take them back to the metro station (a half hour before their event was supposed to start). There were barricades in place set up by counter protestors to stop Kessler and his followers from running off, but they were able to jump into police vans that took them to their train and sent them home.
Andrew Anglin, publisher of the Daily Stormer, wrote a blog post leading up to the rally in which he stated:
These post-Charlottesville marches have no purpose, other than to make anyone who supports white self-determination look like a fringe lunatic. We do not want the image of being a bunch of weird losers who march around like a******s while completely outnumbered and get mocked by the entire planet.
Unite the Right 2 Rally: Photos of Kessler And His Followers
Kessler and his followers arrived at Foggy Bottom Metro station around 3 p.m. with police escorting them. The plan was to head to Lafayette Square for a rally planned for 5:30 p.m. While exiting the metro station, Kessler was told he wouldn’t be able to carry the American flags he’d set aside for the event because they were upheld by wooden flag poles that could be used as weapons. This came as a disappointment to him, but he and his group had extra flags they used to drape over themselves.
Kessler and a few followers marched toward Lafayette Park, holding American flags, saying they want to “honor those who have fought to protect our Constitution.” They were greeted by boos and calls from counter protesters: “Shame, Nazis go home.”
Kessler got on a megaphone to talk about his beliefs for about an hour, then he and his followers were escorted back to the D.C. metro area. Kessler’s message was the same as earlier in the day when he spoke to several reporters at the Vienna Metro station about being in D.C. to promote free speech and to protest “white civil rights abuses.”
Dozens of Organizations, Including Black Lives Matter And Antifa Groups, Came Together to Form #ShutItDownDC to Counter Protest Unite The Right
According to Makia Green, organizer for the D.C. chapter for Black Lives Matter, “ignoring white supremacy doesn’t work.” The objective today wasn’t to confront the alt-right protestors, but to hold a presence that Unite the Right protestors couldn’t ignore.
According to ABC News, thousands were there to protest against Unite the Right.
Today marks the one-year anniversary of the first rally in Charlottesville, Virginia where Kessler took a stand against the planned removal of the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. Self-proclaimed neo-Nazis and white supremacists cheered him on, violence brewed and the day ended tragically.
Black Lives Matter protestors lead the resistance early on in the day with 300 gathering on Eighth Street NW to protest, a few hours after hundreds had gathered at Freedom Plaza.
The groups joined to form one big coalition they coined #ShutItDownDC.
“We are coming together in safety, unity and love,” Maurice Cook, an organizer with the March for Racial Justice, told The Hill.
“This is for a more engaging, less confrontational opportunity for us to come together. I think this is about us practicing and learning how to communicate and build relationships with one another so that we can fight white supremacy out on the street.”
“F— no, we won’t go, the KKK has got to go!” Black Lives Matter activists chanted.
“It seems like the role of the police is to protect and save the white nationalists coming into town,” Green said.
“How beautiful to have so many people who stand for justice, who stand for centering black people and abolishing white supremacy, to be together downtown today.”
Counter protestors remembered Heather Heyer, who was killed one year ago when a white supremacist drove his car into the crowd during the first Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
#ShutItDownDC Instagram Highlights
Watch The Full Recording (3 hours) of Unite the Right Protest & Counter Protests
(This is live footage —provided by Ruptly— of Unite the Right 2 rally and counter protests. Two cameras were streaming; one focused on Unite the Right protestors and the other on counter-protestors.)
This story is being developed.