Police escort far-right demonstrators during a rally opposite the White House, one year after the deadly violence at a similar protest in Charlottesville. Picture: AFP
Police escort far-right demonstrators during a rally opposite the White House, one year after the deadly violence at a similar protest in Charlottesville. Picture: AFP

White nationalist rally a ‘dud’

THE "Unite the Right 2" rally in Washington DC was a complete washout - and the non-stop rain had nothing to do with it.

The planned white nationalist gathering across from the White House was cut short when only about 20 supporters showed up to hear speeches that were overpowered by the chants of thousands of counter-protesters.

The small band of white nationalists huddled together for what they billed as "Unite the Right 2," separated by metal barricades and scores of police from more than a thousand counter-protesters who filled the majority of the park.

The counter-protesters, packed in so tight they stood shoulder to shoulder, shouted slogans including "Nazis aren't welcome!" and "No hate! No KKK! No fascist USA!"

When it began to rain, the crowd chanted, "It's hot, it's wet, but we aren't done with the Nazis yet!"

Several speakers addressed the white nationalists and reporters, with organiser Jason Kessler - who had predicted a crowd of up to 400 - saying, "I condemn neo-Nazis."

"This isn't about racism. This is about free speech," Kessler said.

 

The dud of a rally - held on the one-year anniversary of last year's deadly gathering of neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members and others in Charlottesville, Virginia. - had been called for 5:30pm, but ended a good half-hour before that.

The white nationalists were driven off in white vans, accompanied by a police escort.

Earlier, cops in yellow vests escorted the white nationalists past jeering counter-protesters as they marched to the park.

 

Following the rally, a group of about 200 anti-fascist activists, many wearing black masks, marched around the nation's capital in the rain and confronted police officers who pushed them back.

President Trump - who came under fire last year for saying there was "blame on both sides" for the Charlottesville violence - tweeted a message ahead of the rally.

 

Democrats attacked Mr Trump the following day, with Democratic Senator Tim Kaine telling CBS' Face the Nation, "There is a concerted effort that he has been engaged in to divide people, including dividing them based on race."

Meanwhile, the mother of Heather Heyer, who was killed when a Nazi sympathiser allegedly rammed his car into a group of counter-protesters in Charlottesville last year, laid flowers at a makeshift memorial near the scene on Sunday.

This article was originally published in the New York Post and has been reproduced here with permission.



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