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A small group of white nationalists rallied outside the White House on Sunday to mark one year since violent clashes broke out in Charlottesville, Virginia. Members of the “Unite the Right” march in Washington, D.C., were heavily guarded by police as they were followed by hundreds of counter-protesters in Lafayette Square.
About 20-40 white nationalists turned out to the event. Jason Kessler, the organizer of the rally, said many people who supported the march didn’t show up because they feared for their safety. The rally was abruptly ended by rainfall just over an hour after it began.
Late Sunday, Washington Police Chief Peter Newsham said only one person was arrested, despite several tense moments.
Hours before the event kicked off, nearly 1,000 counter-protesters were already gathered in the area. They rallied, chanting, “no hate, no fear, KKK is not welcome here,” and carried signs that read “black trans lives matter” and “solidarity trumps hate.”
Meanwhile, Charlottesville was under state of emergency orders from Gov. Ralph Northam. Security was tight in the historic city and demonstrations were mostly peaceful despite four arrests in the downtown area. Northam set aside about $2 million for security costs, and more than 1,000 local and state police were assigned t0 deter any violence.
It was a stark contrast to the chaos of last August, when a white supremacist struck and killed activist Heather Heyer with his car. More than 200 people gathered at the city’s Washington Park to protest racism and remember Heyer. Many of them marched, chanting “never again” and “not in our town.”
A crowd of activists gathered with Heyer’s mother, Susan Bro, at the site where her daughter was killed. Bro said the nation and the city have much more work to do when it comes to racism.e racial problem in our city and in our country. We have got to fix this or we’ll be right back here in no time.”