On Sunday, August 12th, white nationalists gathered in Washington, D.C. for the Unite the Right 2 rally. The rally’s organizer, Jason Kessler, expected up to 400 fellow white nationalists to attend, but his estimate fell short. CNN reports less than 50 white nationalists actually showed up. And counter-protesters ultimately drowned out the rally, because love always conquers hate.
The Unite the Right 2 rally was supposed to be a follow-up to the Unite the Right rally held in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017. Counter-protesters crashed the 2017 rally, and it quickly turned violent. The rally came to a startling conclusion when a white nationalist drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, injuring many and killing a young woman named Heather Heyer.
Not wanting to see a repeat of last year, counter-protesters showed up to the nation’s capital by the thousands and effectively outnumbered the white nationalists. (By a lot). The few white nationalists who did attend came armed with American flags and “White Lives Matter” signs. They received a police escort to Lafayette Square Park where speakers briefly discussed alleged civil rights abuses, USA Today reports, like “interracial rape of white women,” attacks on white South Africans, and their threatened right to free speech.
Most white nationalist speeches were drowned out by counter-protest chants.
According to his protest permit, Kessler intended for white nationalists to meet at a rally point, march to Lafayette Square, and then march back to the rally point. But due to the lack of attendance and overwhelming turnout of counter-protesters, the white nationalists were escorted off the premises in white vans shortly after arriving at Lafayette Square, CNN reports.
Although there was a less proportional turnout of white nationalists to counter-protesters than in Charlottesville, tensions were still high among both groups. One counter-protester ignited a smoke bomb that triggered Secret Service to break up the crowd. Another was arrested for using pepper spray, USA Today reports.
Peace officers were on the scene at Unite the Right 2 to ensure safety for both sides.
President Trump, who many claim is responsible for the worsening of the American racial divide in recent years, acknowledged the one-year anniversary of Charlottesville on Twitter.
We’re incredibly grateful that Unite the Right 2 ended quickly and peacefully. Let this serve as a reminder to white nationalists that if they speak out, so will we. And we’ll always be louder.