Get ready for another white nationalist rally -- and counter-protests, too


Charlottesville, Virginia denied a permit for this repeat event, so organizers made a decision to move it up north to Lafayette Park, right in front of the White House. The vehicle plowed through the crowed following the shutdown of the Unite the Right rally by police after white nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" and counter-protesters clashed near Emancipation Park, where a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is slated to be removed.

Authorities faced unrelenting criticism for their handling of last year's rally and an independent review that found serious police and government failures in responding to violence at the "Unite the Right" rally.

Last year's protests in Charlottesville began August 11 and saw hundreds of neo-Nazi sympathizers, accompanied by rifle-carrying men, yelling white nationalist slogans while wielding flaming torches in scenes eerily reminiscent of racist rallies held in America's South before the Civil Rights movement.

In a news conference on Thursday, D.C. police said the Unite the Right rally is something they have been planning for months.

Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old counterprotestor, was killed last year when a self-identified Nazi drove a auto through a crowd of demonstrators. Two state troopers also died that day in a helicopter crash near Charlottesville. No rally has been scheduled for Charlottesville this year because the city refused to issue a permit. Jason Kessler, who has helped organize the event for white nationalists, said a year ago that Airbnb's policy proved that conservative free speech and civil rights were under attack.

In Washington, Police Chief Peter Newsham said his officers will keep the "Unite the Right 2" protesters and the counterprotesters separate. But, he added, "The state police is fully prepared to act on any inciteful violence".

Meanwhile, Alan Popovsky, who owns several restaurants with president themes in D.C., said he plans to serve Sunday brunch at his restaurant, Lincoln, and then close for dinner, after his staff said they were anxious about their safety.

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"Very, very few of our visitors share the views that will be expressed in Lafayette Park on Sunday", Mayor Muriel Bowser, D, said.

Initial plans were for Kessler's group to assemble at the Vienna Metro station in northern Virginia and take Metro to Foggy Bottom, then march to McPherson Square.

Lance says he's feeling good about the D.C. counter protests and skeptical that the Unite the Right rally will reach 400 members, as estimated by the group.

Protest groups are getting ready for a possible clash in the nation's capital, while law enforcement in DC prepares to gear up for the potentially tense clash.

"We want to see students, activists and members of the global community rising up to fight fascism in their universities, local communities, and all institutions that uphold white supremacy and fascism", Majuto said.

Jason Kessler, the primary organizer of last summer's rally, sued the city of Charlottesville after it refused to issue him a permit for another event this weekend.