Rival far-right, far-left protests get heated near White House

July 6, 2019

WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez

Tensions were high as protesters from two different sides took to the streets of D.C. on Saturday and law enforcement officials worked to keep a barrier between the groups from being crossed.

The “Demand Free Speech Freedom Rally” started at noon at Freedom Plaza in D.C. Among those attending are the Proud Boys, a far-right group that had violent run-ins with anti-fascist “antifa” in Portland last weekend, during which there were injuries.

Antifa showed up at the counter-protest “Stop the Alt-Right” rally, organized by All Out DC. This protest started around 11 a.m. at Pershing Park.

Police set up multiple barricades along 14th Street NW with the goal of keeping the two groups separate. The city’s snow plows were set up to restrict vehicle and pedestrian traffic in some areas and to keep conservative and liberal activists away from each other.

A supporter of President Donald Trump attends the right-wing “Demand Free Speech” rally in Washington D.C.’s Freedom Plaza on July 6, 2019. Trump supporters and anti-fascist organizers held dueling rallies across the street from each other, leading to high tensions as D.C. and U.S. Park Police largely held the peace. (WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez)
A supporter of President Donald Trump attends the right-wing “Demand Free Speech” rally in Washington D.C.’s Freedom Plaza on July 6, 2019. Trump supporters and anti-fascist organizers held dueling rallies across the street from each other, leading to high tensions as D.C. and U.S. Park Police largely held the peace. (WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez)
A supporter of President Donald Trump attends the right-wing “Demand Free Speech” rally in Washington D.C.’s Freedom Plaza on July 6, 2019. Trump supporters and anti-fascist organizers held dueling rallies across the street from each other, leading to high tensions as D.C. and U.S. Park Police largely held the peace. (WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez)
A supporter of President Donald Trump attends the right-wing “Demand Free Speech” rally in Washington D.C.’s Freedom Plaza on July 6, 2019. Trump supporters and anti-fascist organizers held dueling rallies across the street from each other, leading to high tensions as D.C. and U.S. Park Police largely held the peace. (WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez)
An attendee of the far-right “Defend Free Speech” rally in Washington, D.C. on July 6, 2019 holds a sign above the crowd. Trump supporters and anti-fascist organizers held dueling rallies across the street from each other, leading to high tensions as D.C. and U.S. Park Police largely held the peace. (WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez)
An attendee of the far-right “Defend Free Speech” rally in Washington, D.C. on July 6, 2019 holds a sign above the crowd. Trump supporters and anti-fascist organizers held dueling rallies across the street from each other, leading to high tensions as D.C. and U.S. Park Police largely held the peace. (WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez)
A protester opposing the far-right holds a sign against white supremacy in a counter-protest to a July 6, 2019 rally by far-right figures in Washington, D.C.’s Freedom Plaza. Trump supporters and anti-fascist organizers held dueling rallies across the street from each other, leading to high tensions as D.C. and U.S. Park Police largely held the peace. (WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez)
A protester opposing the far-right holds a sign against white supremacy in a counter-protest to a July 6, 2019 rally by far-right figures in Washington, D.C.’s Freedom Plaza. Trump supporters and anti-fascist organizers held dueling rallies across the street from each other, leading to high tensions as D.C. and U.S. Park Police largely held the peace. (WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez)
LGBTQ activists wave rainbow flags in an attempt to drown out a right-wing broadcast, seen lower right, during a far-right rally in Washington, D.C. on July 6, 2019. Trump supporters and anti-fascist organizers held dueling rallies across the street from each other, leading to high tensions as D.C. and U.S. Park Police largely held the peace. (WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez)
LGBTQ activists wave rainbow flags in an attempt to drown out a right-wing broadcast, seen lower right, during a far-right rally in Washington, D.C. on July 6, 2019. Trump supporters and anti-fascist organizers held dueling rallies across the street from each other, leading to high tensions as D.C. and U.S. Park Police largely held the peace. (WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez)
Opponents to a far-right rally in Washington, D.C. on July 6, 2019 attempt to block and surround a Metropolitan Police Department cruiser on 14th Street. Trump supporters and anti-fascist organizers held dueling rallies across the street from each other, leading to high tensions as D.C. and U.S. Park Police largely held the peace. (WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez)
Opponents to a far-right rally in Washington, D.C. on July 6, 2019 attempt to block and surround a Metropolitan Police Department cruiser on 14th Street. Trump supporters and anti-fascist organizers held dueling rallies across the street from each other, leading to high tensions as D.C. and U.S. Park Police largely held the peace. (WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez)
A protester confronts a Washington, D.C. police officer, accusing them of protecting white supremacists, while opposing a far-right rally on July 6, 2019. Trump supporters and anti-fascist organizers held dueling rallies across the street from each other, leading to high tensions as D.C. and U.S. Park Police largely held the peace. (WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez)
A protester confronts a Washington, D.C. police officer, accusing them of protecting white supremacists, while opposing a far-right rally on July 6, 2019. Trump supporters and anti-fascist organizers held dueling rallies across the street from each other, leading to high tensions as D.C. and U.S. Park Police largely held the peace. (WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez)
A supporter of President Donald Trump is surrounded by counter-protesters to a far-right event in Washington, D.C.’s Freedom Plaza on July 6, 2019. Trump supporters and anti-fascist organizers held dueling rallies across the street from each other, leading to high tensions as D.C. and U.S. Park Police largely held the peace. (WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez)
A supporter of President Donald Trump is surrounded by counter-protesters to a far-right event in Washington, D.C.’s Freedom Plaza on July 6, 2019. Trump supporters and anti-fascist organizers held dueling rallies across the street from each other, leading to high tensions as D.C. and U.S. Park Police largely held the peace. (WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez)
Antifa protesters pose with a sign in front of Washington, D.C. police officers, as members of the far-right rally against conservative censorship in social media. Trump supporters and anti-fascist organizers held dueling rallies across the street from each other, leading to high tensions as D.C. and U.S. Park Police largely held the peace. (WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez)
Antifa protesters pose with a sign in front of Washington, D.C. police officers, as members of the far-right rally against conservative censorship in social media. Trump supporters and anti-fascist organizers held dueling rallies across the street from each other, leading to high tensions as D.C. and U.S. Park Police largely held the peace. (WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez)
Far-left activists known as antifa wear helmets and dress in all black as they patrol Washington, D.C.’s 14th Street to confront supporters of President Donald Trump on July 6, 2019. Trump supporters and anti-fascist organizers held dueling rallies across the street from each other, leading to high tensions as D.C. and U.S. Park Police largely held the peace. (WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez)
Far-left activists known as antifa wear helmets and dress in all black as they patrol Washington, D.C.’s 14th Street to confront supporters of President Donald Trump on July 6, 2019. Trump supporters and anti-fascist organizers held dueling rallies across the street from each other, leading to high tensions as D.C. and U.S. Park Police largely held the peace. (WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez)
Far-left antifa protesters march down Washington, D.C.’s F Street on July 6, 2019, in an attempt to disrupt a far-right rally in Freedom Plaza. Trump supporters and anti-fascist organizers held dueling rallies across the street from each other, leading to high tensions as D.C. and U.S. Park Police largely held the peace. (WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez)
Far-left antifa protesters march down Washington, D.C.’s F Street on July 6, 2019, in an attempt to disrupt a far-right rally in Freedom Plaza. Trump supporters and anti-fascist organizers held dueling rallies across the street from each other, leading to high tensions as D.C. and U.S. Park Police largely held the peace. (WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez) (WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez)
Far-left antifa protesters march down Washington, D.C.’s F Street on July 6, 2019, in an attempt to disrupt a far-right rally in Freedom Plaza. Trump supporters and anti-fascist organizers held dueling rallies across the street from each other, leading to high tensions as D.C. and U.S. Park Police largely held the peace. (WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez)
Far-left antifa protesters march down Washington, D.C.’s F Street on July 6, 2019, in an attempt to disrupt a far-right rally in Freedom Plaza. Trump supporters and anti-fascist organizers held dueling rallies across the street from each other, leading to high tensions as D.C. and U.S. Park Police largely held the peace. (WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez)
Protesters from the far right and the far left are seen during demonstrations in D.C. on July 6, 2019. (WTOP/John Domen)
Protesters from the far-right and the far-left are seen during demonstrations in D.C. on July 6, 2019. (WTOP/John Domen) (WTOP/John Domen)
Counter protesters hold signs with Freedom Plaza behind them during demonstrations in D.C. on July 6, 2019. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
Counter protesters hold signs with Freedom Plaza behind them during demonstrations in D.C. on July 6, 2019. (WTOP/Michelle Basch) (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
Protesters from the left are seen during a rally at Pershing Park in D.C. on Saturday, July 6, 2019. (WTOP/John Domen)
Protesters from the left are seen during a rally at Pershing Park in D.C. on Saturday, July 6, 2019. (WTOP/John Domen) (WTOP/John Domen)
Cops appear to have confiscated a crowbar and some hammers from people on the far left side of protests at Pershing Park in D.C., according to WTOP's John Domen during a protest on July 6, 2019. (WTOP/John Domen)
Cops appear to have confiscated a crowbar and some hammers from people on the far left side of protests at Pershing Park in D.C., according to WTOP’s John Domen during a protest on July 6, 2019. (WTOP/John Domen) (WTOP/John Domen)
Police increased a buffer between Freedom Plaza and Pershing Park in D.C. during protests on Saturday, July 6, 2019. (WTOP/John Domen).
Police increased a buffer between Freedom Plaza and Pershing Park in D.C. during protests on Saturday, July 6, 2019. (WTOP/John Domen). (WTOP/John Domen)
The alt-right rally is seen underway in Freedom Plaza in D.C. on Saturday, July 6, 2019. (WTOP/John Domen)
The alt-right rally is seen underway in Freedom Plaza in D.C. on Saturday, July 6, 2019. (WTOP/John Domen) (WTOP/John Domen)
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A supporter of President Donald Trump attends the right-wing “Demand Free Speech” rally in Washington D.C.’s Freedom Plaza on July 6, 2019. Trump supporters and anti-fascist organizers held dueling rallies across the street from each other, leading to high tensions as D.C. and U.S. Park Police largely held the peace. (WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez)
A supporter of President Donald Trump attends the right-wing “Demand Free Speech” rally in Washington D.C.’s Freedom Plaza on July 6, 2019. Trump supporters and anti-fascist organizers held dueling rallies across the street from each other, leading to high tensions as D.C. and U.S. Park Police largely held the peace. (WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez)
An attendee of the far-right “Defend Free Speech” rally in Washington, D.C. on July 6, 2019 holds a sign above the crowd. Trump supporters and anti-fascist organizers held dueling rallies across the street from each other, leading to high tensions as D.C. and U.S. Park Police largely held the peace. (WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez)
A protester opposing the far-right holds a sign against white supremacy in a counter-protest to a July 6, 2019 rally by far-right figures in Washington, D.C.’s Freedom Plaza. Trump supporters and anti-fascist organizers held dueling rallies across the street from each other, leading to high tensions as D.C. and U.S. Park Police largely held the peace. (WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez)
LGBTQ activists wave rainbow flags in an attempt to drown out a right-wing broadcast, seen lower right, during a far-right rally in Washington, D.C. on July 6, 2019. Trump supporters and anti-fascist organizers held dueling rallies across the street from each other, leading to high tensions as D.C. and U.S. Park Police largely held the peace. (WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez)
Opponents to a far-right rally in Washington, D.C. on July 6, 2019 attempt to block and surround a Metropolitan Police Department cruiser on 14th Street. Trump supporters and anti-fascist organizers held dueling rallies across the street from each other, leading to high tensions as D.C. and U.S. Park Police largely held the peace. (WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez)
A protester confronts a Washington, D.C. police officer, accusing them of protecting white supremacists, while opposing a far-right rally on July 6, 2019. Trump supporters and anti-fascist organizers held dueling rallies across the street from each other, leading to high tensions as D.C. and U.S. Park Police largely held the peace. (WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez)
A supporter of President Donald Trump is surrounded by counter-protesters to a far-right event in Washington, D.C.’s Freedom Plaza on July 6, 2019. Trump supporters and anti-fascist organizers held dueling rallies across the street from each other, leading to high tensions as D.C. and U.S. Park Police largely held the peace. (WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez)
Antifa protesters pose with a sign in front of Washington, D.C. police officers, as members of the far-right rally against conservative censorship in social media. Trump supporters and anti-fascist organizers held dueling rallies across the street from each other, leading to high tensions as D.C. and U.S. Park Police largely held the peace. (WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez)
Far-left activists known as antifa wear helmets and dress in all black as they patrol Washington, D.C.’s 14th Street to confront supporters of President Donald Trump on July 6, 2019. Trump supporters and anti-fascist organizers held dueling rallies across the street from each other, leading to high tensions as D.C. and U.S. Park Police largely held the peace. (WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez)
Far-left antifa protesters march down Washington, D.C.’s F Street on July 6, 2019, in an attempt to disrupt a far-right rally in Freedom Plaza. Trump supporters and anti-fascist organizers held dueling rallies across the street from each other, leading to high tensions as D.C. and U.S. Park Police largely held the peace. (WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez)
Far-left antifa protesters march down Washington, D.C.’s F Street on July 6, 2019, in an attempt to disrupt a far-right rally in Freedom Plaza. Trump supporters and anti-fascist organizers held dueling rallies across the street from each other, leading to high tensions as D.C. and U.S. Park Police largely held the peace. (WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez)
Protesters from the far right and the far left are seen during demonstrations in D.C. on July 6, 2019. (WTOP/John Domen)
Counter protesters hold signs with Freedom Plaza behind them during demonstrations in D.C. on July 6, 2019. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
Protesters from the left are seen during a rally at Pershing Park in D.C. on Saturday, July 6, 2019. (WTOP/John Domen)
Cops appear to have confiscated a crowbar and some hammers from people on the far left side of protests at Pershing Park in D.C., according to WTOP's John Domen during a protest on July 6, 2019. (WTOP/John Domen)
Police increased a buffer between Freedom Plaza and Pershing Park in D.C. during protests on Saturday, July 6, 2019. (WTOP/John Domen).
The alt-right rally is seen underway in Freedom Plaza in D.C. on Saturday, July 6, 2019. (WTOP/John Domen)
While the morning started in a calm fashion, the protests became more and more intense.

Antifa protesters were seen rushing a police barricade on Pennsylvania Avenue and 12th Street NW. A masked antifa protester was seen attempting to snatch a “MAGA” hat from a Trump supporter who crossed into the All Out DC side of Saturday’s protests.

At the counter-protest in Pershing Park, a Trump supporter was seen being surrounded and chased out to applause.

WTOP’s Alejandro Alvarez reported that at least one antifa protester was arrested outside the Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue at around 6:30 p.m.

Antifa protesters tried to confront Trump supporters as they were heading into the “Demand Free Speech” after-party.

WTOP’s John Domen, Alejandro Alvarez and Michelle Basch contributed to this report.

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