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Black Lives Matter counterdemonstration draws hundreds to DC ahead of ‘Unite the Right’ rally

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A Black Lives Matter march near Lafayette Park outside the White House on Sunday afternoon attracted an estimated 300 people protesting against racism and white supremacy. 

The Black Lives Matter event was one of the day’s many counterprotests planned against the white nationalist-led “Unite the Right 2” rally scheduled to take place in front of the White House later that afternoon. 

Makia Green, an organizer with Black Lives Matter D.C. told The Hill that the group plans to “hold down” the street beside Lafayette Park as white nationalists and counterprotesters stage dueling demonstrations. 

“The whole point is that we wanted to create contingency plans for all the types of people who would be coming in to our protest,” Green said. “We’ve been planning for the last two months. One of the things is we want to stay ready.” 

The Black Lives Matter activists gathered on Eighth Street NW to protest and chant, hours after a similar rally that took place in Freedom Plaza earlier in the day

“F— no, we won’t go, the KKK has got to go!” Black Lives Matter activists chanted.

“White civil rights are not a thing!” one woman yelled to a crowd who repeated the slogan back.

Marchers and organizers also echoed “fight back!” among the crowd. 

Green said D.C.’s Black Lives Matter chapter is wary of interactions with local police. 

“BLM DC has had a long relationship with confronting the local police departments,” Green said, claiming that police will be “protecting the Unite the Right protesters.” 

Green said Black Lives Matter is organizing to protect D.C. residents and those participating in the counterprotests, saying that she thought local police officers were “operat[ing] differently.”

“It seems like their role will be to protect and save the white nationalists coming into town,” Green continued. 

In the hours before the white nationalist protesters arrived outside the White House, the police presence was subdued. 

D.C. police and Mayor Muriel Bowser have warned there will be a heavy police presence aimed at keeping white nationalist protesters and counterprotests separate. 

It is unclear how many white nationalists will attend “Unite the Right 2.” Green said organizers are planning for all scenarios, including a small contingent of white nationalists.

“How beautiful will it be to have so many people who stand for justice, who stand for centering black people and abolishing white supremacy, to be together downtown today,” Green said. 


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