A Unite the Right 2 rally and events are planned for Saturday and Sunday in Washington, D.C. Exactly one year after the deadly rally in Charlottesville, Va., many of the same KKK groups, Neo-Nazis and other right-wing groups are planning, once again, to come together to promote hate.
Last year, a white supremacist plowed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters killing Heather Heyer and injuring more than a dozen people. The 21-year-old driver said to idolize Adof Hitler, is still in prison for murder and federal hate crime violations. A street has been named for Heyer.
Jason Kessler, who also spearheaded the original event, had his application approved by the National Park Service, and according to the Unite the Right 2 website, the main rally will begin at Lafayette Park at 2 p.m. on Sunday.
In opposition of the event, anti-racism groups will stand in solidarity.
To counter Unite the Right 2, a march and demonstration is planned for 2.5 hours on Sunday evening, where 400 attendees are expected, 40 anti-racism groups with an expected total of 2,000 people will protest hate starting Friday through Sunday, and for seven hours on Sunday, with Charlottesville and Washington being hubs for both sides.
Housing and food are being offered for counter-protestors, and for those who can’t travel to the area, they were encouraged to protest in the streets wherever they are. The groups also provided legal resources and emergency contact forms in case of arrests.
Shut It Down D.C. Coalition is producing a “Still Here, Still Strong” rally where marching bands, puppets, diverse art and culture are being organized. Black Lives Matter D.C. is hosting a five-hour “Rise Up Fight Back Counter-Protest” and even local student activists from UVA Students United are calling for university communities to stand against hate.
The Southern Poverty Law Center found 867 cases of hateful harassment or intimidation in the 10 days after the Nov. 8 election, and the number of hate groups in 2016 rose to 917, just 100 short of an all-time record from 2011.
Unite the Right 2, with a police escort, is scheduled to begin a march at the Vienna Metro station in Northern Virginia, to the Foggy Bottom stop before heading to Lafayette Park. Police Chief Newsham said the exact route wouldn’t be determined until Sunday.
Police have already said of this weekend’s protest led by Kessler: We have a public safety plan we’re pretty confident in, but in a civil unrest environment, we can’t guarantee anyone’s safety.