WASHINGTON – About 20 mainly white, male neo-Nazis, having wrapped themselves in American flags, held on Sunday a march in front of the White House to support “civil rights for whites,” albeit surrounded by thousands of counterdemonstrators who shouted slogans against their racist ideology.
To avoid confrontations and violence, a large contingent of Washington police – wearing yellow fluorescent vests – placed the neo-Nazis in a small corner of Lafayette Park near the White House set off from other demonstrators by waist-high black barriers.
Thousands of anti-Nazi demonstrators gathered behind the barriers to boo the neo-Nazis and shout slogans like “Anti-anti-antifascists!” and held up signs saying such things as “No hate, no KKK, no Nazis in the USA” – referring to the white supremacist Ku Klux Klan – and “You a--holes again?”
Among the anti-Nazi demonstrators were socialist and African American activists, including Black Lives Matter supporters.
The twin demonstrations began about 4 pm and concluded about 90 minutes later, when a heavy rain started.
Neo-Nazi organizers had predicted that 400 people would attend their demonstration, where white supremacist Jason Kessler – who last year organized a similar protest that turned deadly in Charlottesville, Virginia – figured in acquiring a permit to hold it from city authorities.
But far from drawing 400 neo-Nazis, just 20 or so showed up, EFE noted.
One of those demonstrators, a 21-year-old calling himself Karl, which he said was not his real name, told EFE that he had traveled to Washington from Dallas for the march because he wanted to defend the “rights of all people,” including whites who, he said, should be a majority in the US.
Karl carried two handwritten signs and displayed no fascist symbols on his clothing.
Brandon Watson, the only African American to join the neo-Nazis in staging their protest, said he did so because “it doesn’t matter what color you are,” and – above all – because he wanted to support his “friend,” Kessler, who addressed the marchers several times from a stage.
This second edition of the “Unite the Right” march was held on the first anniversary of the similar protest in Charlottesville, which resulted in three fatalities – a female counterdemonstrator and two police officers who died in a helicopter crash – along with about 20 people injured.