WASHINGTON — A weekend conference of alt-right followers drew demonstrators into D.C. on Saturday.
Protesters occasionally blocked traffic on Pennsylvania Avenue and also on 14th Street Northwest as they marched outside the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.
Meanwhile, inside a conference room of the cavernous building, alt-right followers were meeting to map political strategy and hear from Richard Spencer, president of the National Policy Institute, an Arlington, Virginia-based group devoted to immigration reforms based on racial separation.
“We’re the alt-right and we think that identity matters. … Race is real, race matters it has tremendous social consequences and race is the foundation of identity,” said Spencer, who’s regarded as an inspirational thinker among alt-right followers.
Spencer said the alt-right and the National Policy Institute hope to influence policy in the upcoming Donald Trump administration.
Alt-righters at the gathering said they didn’t see Trump as one of them, but they thought they influenced the Trump campaign and said they hoped to have a hand in shaping the Trump administration’s immigration policy.
Demonstrators outside, who described themselves at anti-fascist, carried signs and chanted, denouncing the alt-right, the National Policy Institute and President-elect Trump.
“We’re here to show our opposition to the National Policy Institute. … They have tried to make far-right wing anti-black and anti-immigration sentiment mainstream,” said David Thurston, one of the demonstrators leading the march.
March organizers say they are planning further demonstrations during the Trump inauguration.