Dispatches From D.C.: On the Scene at the 'Unite the Right 2' Rally
Truthdig’s front-line correspondent and photojournalist Michael Nigro will be reporting and livestreaming on the ground from the “Unite the Right 2” rally Sunday in Washington, D.C. Below is a link to his recap of last year’s rally in Charlottesville, Va., where he provided exclusive coverage for Truthdig, and beneath that is information about the run-up to the new events stemming from last year’s demonstration.
This weekend marks the one-year anniversary of the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va., a gathering of white nationalists in which activist Heather Heyer was killed and 19 were injured when a car plowed into a group of counterprotesters; an Ohio man faces hate-crime charges in the deadly rampage.
After being denied a permit in Charlottesville for this year’s “Unite the Right 2,” rally organizer Jason Kessler obtained a permit for 400 people to march in the nation’s capital and hold a rally in Lafayette Square, with the White House as a backdrop.
The permit denial in Charlottesville did not stop Ralph Northam, the governor of Virginia, and city officials from declaring a state of emergency Wednesday, leading up to the anniversary of the deadly rally.
Unverified reports of unsanctioned alt-right actions in Charlottesville have been shared over social media platforms. Some on the left believe there will be attempts to disrupt left-wing actions and memorials held for the 29-year-old activist who was killed by the car driven by white nationalist James Alex Fields Jr.
District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser held a news conference Thursday in which she announced that D.C.’s security level has been activated at level 2 and resources are available to ensure the area will be safe during the event.
Law enforcement agencies including the D.C. Metro Police, the FBI, the Capitol Police, Virginia and Maryland state police, Homeland Security and the U.S. Park Police (which has jurisdiction over Lafayette Square) will be monitoring the event. The “Unite the Right 2” rally is slated to begin at 5 p.m. Eastern on Sunday.
“We welcome millions of visitors each and every year,” Bowser said at the news conference. “Very, very few of our visitors share the views that will be expressed in Lafayette Park on Sunday.”
“We have people coming to our city for the sole purpose of spewing hate,” she added.
“We have coordinated with the organizers of all the groups that are coming and established what the rules and regulations are in Lafayette Park, and what the expectations are,” said Chief of U.S. Park Police Robert D. MacLean.
“Come and be peaceful and exercise your First Amendment rights. We will not tolerate destruction of property,” MacLean added.
The following images were captured at the “Unite the Right 2” rally in Washington, D.C., on Sunday: