‘Rally against hate’ planned to protest white nationalists’ presence in DC

WASHINGTON — A rally to protest the expected presence of white nationalists in D.C. on Sunday plans to feature speakers, music, artists creating murals and a play space for children

“We’ll be highlighting the voices of the marginalized communities that the neo-Nazis want to drive out of our city,” said Mark Lance, professor of philosophy and professor of justice and peace at Georgetown University.

The “rally against hate” will include a coalition of more than 40 organizations. It is planned from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday on Freedom Plaza, which is between 13th and 14th streets Northwest along Pennsylvania Avenue.

“We are going to celebrate all that’s good about this society,” Lance said.

The group organizing Sunday’s 12 p.m. rally at Freedom Plaza states on its website: “We will confront fascism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, white supremacy and state violence on Aug. 10-12.” (WTOP/Kristi King)

Afterward, Lance said those gathered intend to march to Lafayette Square where the white supremacists’ “Unite the Right” attendees are expected to gather.

“My father enrolled in the military in 1942 to fight the Nazis. I’ve been an activist and an organizer for 35 years around current injustices, trying to build more positive change in this country. I never thought the day would come that I would have to fight his battles,” Lance said.

Four groups have requested permits to protest the “Unite the Right” event. The Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America are seeking to protest on the White House sidewalk after marching over with an estimated 1,000 people from the “rally against hate” on Freedom Plaza.

Another person has promised to burn a “Confederate/Nazi” flag, and there’s an application for a permit to meet for an interfaith prayer service with about 100 people near Judiciary Square before marching to Freedom Plaza.

A fourth application asks for space for 100 to 500 people in Lafayette Square, on the White House sidewalk, or in Farragut or McPherson Square, to “stand against fascism and white supremacy.”

The National Park Service has yet to formally issue permits for any of the requests, but they could be issued as late as Friday or Saturday, if security plans are not settled sooner.

WTOP’s Max Smith contributed to this report.

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