WASHINGTON — Sunday will mark the one-year anniversary of the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, a white nationalist event in which a counterprotester was killed and two Virginia State Police troopers died in a helicopter crash.
After failing to get approval for a similar event this year in Charlottesville, organizer Jason Kessler has turned his attention to the nation’s capital.
“Unite the Right 2” is set to be held Sunday evening near the White House. As with last year’s event, a strong counterprotest is expected, and preparations are underway to ensure safety.
Here’s what residents and visitors to the area can expect.
When and where
Unite the Right 2: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Lafayette Square, according to the event’s public web page.
Counterprotests: Sunday afternoon and evening, around Freedom Plaza, McPherson Square, Farragut Square and Lafayette Square. (One is planned for the 900 block of 16th Street Northwest, not far from Lafayette.) A march from Freedom Plaza to Lafayette Square is also planned, which will probably impact traffic in the area.
NOTE: Informal counterprotests are possible in the area as well.
It remains unclear how many protesters and counterprotesters will be on hand. The National Park Service has issued six permits — one for Kessler’s event and five for the counterprotests.
Kessler’s white nationalist group, with an estimated 100 to 400 participants, received their permit Thursday to hold their rally in Lafayette Square.
One counterprotesting group — DC United Against Hate (estimated 1,000 participants) — received a permit Wednesday evening. They will assemble in Freedom Plaza and march to Lafayette Square.
Another counterprotesting group, the ANSWER Coalition, received a permit on Thursday. They anticipate around 1,500 counterprotesters in Lafayette Square, 500 in Farragut Square and 500 in McPherson Square.
A permit was issued Friday to Thomas Oh, the Republican candidate for Virginia’s 8th District. He will host a counterprotest northeast of the Lincoln Memorial, and he anticipates up to 100 participants.
New York Black Lives Matter received a permit Friday as well to hold a rally Sunday in the area northeast of the Lincoln memorial. They anticipate 200 to 300 participants.
Also receiving a permit Friday: A fifth counterprotest, during which a “Confederate/Nazi” flag will be burned in the northwest portion of Lafayette Square. Five participants are anticipated for the event.
(See map below for additional details.)
Leadup to ‘Unite the Right 2’
According to its public web page, “Unite the Right 2” participants are planning to assemble at the Vienna Metro station 2 to 3 p.m. Sunday. (In a statement Thursday, Fairfax County police said the department will have an enhanced presence at the Vienna Metro station from noon to 10 p.m.)
From there, participants will go to Foggy Bottom in D.C., then march to Lafayette Square.
(Please note that the main entrance to George Washington University Hospital next to the Metro will be closed on Saturday and Sunday.)