A small group of right-wing extremists gather in front of the White House on the anniversary of Charlottesville riots. Thousands of counter-demonstrators stand in their way. At the edge there are conflicts.
The announced White Nationalist demonstration outside the White House in Washington on the anniversary of Charlottesville's deadly protests has been much smaller than expected. Only about 30 members of the extreme right took part in the event. At the same time, thousands of counter-demonstrators were protesting against the assembly. A large number of police separated the groups.
The organizers of the far-right demonstration had expected significantly more participants. The authorities had been announced about 400 demonstrators. Despite the much lower demand, the White Nationalists held their rally. Protected by several hundred policemen, they first marched from a subway station to the White House. There they made a few short speeches. Then they drove away, again escorted by the police and under the mockery of the counter-demonstrators.
Conflict after the end of the right-wing deployment
After the departure of the right-wing extremists in Washington, there was a conflict between police officers and violent counter-demonstrators. The police blocked a march of around 150 to 200 Antifa members and pushed them back.
Already hours before the right-wing extremist demonstration began, hundreds of people had gathered in the center of the US capital. Attendees held signs with inscriptions like "Deported Nazis", "White Supremacy is Terrorism" or "No Nazis – No KKK – No Fascist USA". The abbreviation KKK stands for the racist Ku Klux Klan.
Criticism of Trump
"I am here to protest against white supremacy," said a participant in the rally. She accuses US President Donald Trump of bringing racism to the public. The head of state himself did not stay in Washington. Trump is currently vacationing in one of his golf clubs.
The President had been criticized after the clashes in Charlottesville a year ago for not clearly condemning extreme right-wing violence. "I think the blame is on both sides," he had said then. There were also "very good people" on both sides. Trump had triggered indignation.
Prior to this year's demonstration, Trump condemned "all forms of racism and violence". Trump's daughter became clearer. Ivanka Trump took a stand against right-wing extremism on Twitter. "In our great country, there is no place for white supremacy, racism and neo-Nazism," she wrote.
At the demonstration "United the rights" it came on August 12, 2017 to serious riots. A right-wing extremist had driven a car into a group of counter-demonstrators. 32-year-old Heather Heyer died, many people were injured.
As in the previous year's rally in Charlottesville, the protest in Washington was also registered by Jason Kessler. He is a far-right nationalist who believes that whites are penalized in the US. The radio station NPR questioned him about his world view. Kessler said whites are the only group that can not organize. Black people organized themselves in "Black Lives matter", Jews had the ADL, Muslims had Cair. Kessler said he wanted to say his opinion peacefully. According to media reports, the speakers include well-known neo-Nazis and racists, such as David Duke of the Ku Klux Klan.
State of emergency in Charlottesville
In Charlottesville, the consequences of violent riots have not been forgotten. Don Gathers, deacon and activist of "Black Lives Matter", says, "People are still distressed as they walk down the fourth street." Just cross the street, bring people to the edge of a trauma. "Because they do not know what to expect."
With information from Jan Bösche, ARD Studio Washington