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White Supremacist Rally in Washington Overwhelmed by Counter-Protesters

Police escort far-right demonstrators during a rally at Lafayette Park  opposite the White House, on August 12.Police escort far-right demonstrators during a rally at Lafayette Park  opposite the White House, on August 12.

A small white supremacist rally took place outside the White House on Sunday when only some 20 far-right supporters showed up, but they were massively outnumbered by counter-protesters.

Washington police closed streets and threw a ring of steel across a park where the rally was held to keep the demonstrators and counter-protesters apart.

The day appeared to end without major incident, though officers used pepper spray on rowdy anti-fascists a few blocks from the White House, reported AFP.

The tiny group of demonstrators trickled in from nearby Vienna, Virginia, under heavy police escort at Washington’s Foggy Bottom Metro station—and were met by hundreds of counter-protesters screaming “Shame!” and “Get out of my city!”

Heavy rain helped bring the so-called “Unite the Right 2” demo to an early end, hours before the scheduled finish of what had been billed as a “white civil rights rally” protesting, among other things, the social media shutdown of some voices on the extreme right.

After marching to Lafayette Square in front of the White House, the group was driven in police vans back to a different Metro station outside of Washington.

By the end of the day, only six individuals remained, protected from angry counter-protesters by a ring of police officers.

One year ago torch-bearing white supremacists in the first “Unite the Right” event marched through Charlottesville, Virginia, in two days of chaos, chanting slogans such as “Blood and Soil”—the English version of a Nazi chant—and “White Lives Matter.”

That event culminated with a man driving a car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing a woman and injuring 19 people.

Some of the white demonstrators in Charlottesville carried guns, including assault rifles, but all firearms were barred from Sunday’s rally.

On Sunday the demonstrator chants, if any, were drowned out by the counter-protesters.

The white supremacist movement is enjoying a sense of empowerment under President Donald Trump, According to Kei Pritsker, 22, a volunteer with the Answer Coalition that organized the counter-protest.

Trump drew broad criticism immediately after last year’s Charlottesville clashes when he appeared reluctant to condemn the extreme right-wingers—many of whom have rallied behind him since his election.

On Saturday, the president issued a generic condemnation of “all types of racism and acts of violence” via Twitter.

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