Last year, when white supremacy groups collided in Charlottesville, Virginia, the confrontations were deadly.
Now, some of the same right-wing groups involved in those events in Charlottesville are planning another protest to coincide with the anniversary this weekend. Also, almost 300 members of the Virginia National Guard will be on standby.
“Unite the Right” organizers have been telling their side to meet at the Vienna Metro station Sunday afternoon to ride into D.C. The Metro system considered using dedicated train cars to shuttle the white supremacists to the Foggy Bottom station, a plan shelved after protest from the Amalgamated Transit Union. The rally, organized to protest plans to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee from downtown park, quickly deteriorated into clashes, prompting officials to declare the event illegal.
Charlottesville’s interim City Manager Mike Murphy said many lessons were learned from last year’s tragic events. The list of scheduled speakers included several leading white nationalist figures, including Richard Spencer.
Kessler had applied for a permit to hold his anniversary rally in Charlottesville, and had sued the city when they denied him the permit, but he dropped his battle with the city in late July.
A 20-year-old man from Ohio, James Alex Fields Jr.
In addition to Heyer’s death, 19 other people were reportedly injured in the violence. Two Virginia State troopers ewre also killed as a result of the violent events on August 11, 2017, according to a press release from Northam’s office. The pilot, 48-year-old Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen of Midlothian, and 40-year-old Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates of Quinton, died at the scene. But, he added, “The state police is fully prepared to act on any inciteful violence”. Not Donald Trump. Not Barack Obama.
His apparent refusal to condemn neo-Nazis and violent white nationalist groups elicited strong bipartisan pushback. This from the president who said that African countries are ‘shitholes.’ This from the president who called, during the campaign, for a ban on non-American Muslims coming into the country.
It wasn’t until two days later, on Monday afternoon, that Trump made another televised statement, this time, being more explicit. “So wherever you are on any side of any issue is not how we will engage you, but based on those behaviors that rise to a criminal level and violence particularly”.
“I think 400 is optimistic but we’ll see”, he said told NewsHour, after reading Kessler’s permit application.
“You had some very bad people in that group”.
Unlike in Charlottesville, demonstrators will not be allowed to openly carry weapons.
The National Park Service approved an application for what was described as a “white civil rights” rally on August 12, at D.C.’s Lafayette Park.
Counterprotesters are expected to include members of antifa, an anti-fascist group, some of whose members rampaged through parts of the District on Inauguration Day employing “black bloc” tactics of breaking windows and setting fires.