WASHINGTON — Alt-right demonstrators and those who plan to protest those demonstrations are getting ready to descend on downtown D.C. this weekend for the Unite The Right 2 rally. Both sides are warning supporters about what they can expect.
Unite The Right 2 is being held exactly a year after the initial rally, which turned deadly in Charlottesville, Virginia. Turnout among Unite the Right demonstrators is expected to be smaller this year than last, and there is a long list of instructions on the web page put up by organizers, starting with where to meet (the Vienna Metro station) and how to get downtown (that’s more vague).
The instructions repeatedly warn that members of the media as well as counterprotesters will probably be there too.
Unite the Right organizers are specifically warning supporters not to react with anger to anyone, claiming some people will be there to provoke them and catch them lashing out on camera.
The group also warns supporters that there is no expectation of privacy on city streets, but that law enforcement will be present in order to help both sides exercise their rights. Attendees are further warned to not react to Antifa (counterdemonstrators) or the media, and to not bring guns or any other weapons to the rally.
In fact, warnings against interacting with reporters or counterdemonstrators appear throughout the instructions, along with a final plea not to engage in any fighting and to be a good representative for the “cause.”
On the flip side, activist groups organizing the counterdemonstration say any promises of a different, more peaceful rally coming from Unite the Right organizers shouldn’t be believed, and that the area around Lafayette Park will be a “higher risk space” because of the presence of white nationalists. And they’re promising that Jason Kessler (the organizer of Unite the Right) “will find no rest, no refuge, no respite” while in D.C.
The Shut It Down D.C. counterdemonstration will begin Sunday afternoon at Freedom Plaza, and the organizers behind it vow that it’ll be loud and vibrant. But their website also features information on where to access legal aid if any counterdemonstrators are arrested, and suggests those who can’t make the trip to D.C. to take part in the counterprotest should instead try to “occupy an ICE office” or “shut down a police station.”