DC police banning all guns at 'Unite the Right' rally

DC police banning all guns at 'Unite the Right' rally
© Getty Images

Officials in Washington, D.C., are implementing tight security measures in anticipation of Sunday’s “Unite the Right” rally and ensuing counterprotests marking the first anniversary of a deadly white nationalist gathering in Charlottesville, Va. 

D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham and Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) on Thursday announced the measures including banning guns from the rallies — even for gun owners with legal permits — and separating protesters and counterprotesters.

“The rules are pretty simple,” Newsham said. “Don't hurt anyone and don't break anything.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Bowser was quick to condemn the forthcoming event over its ideology. 

“We have people coming to our city for the sole purpose of spewing hate. We denounce hate, we denounce anti-Semitism, and we denounce the rhetoric we expect to hear this Sunday,” she said at a local synagogue.

White nationalists gathered in Charlottesville one year ago to protest the removal of a statue of Confederal Gen. Robert E. Lee. Clashes with counterprotesters erupted soon after, leading to multiple injuries. 

James Alex Fields Jr., an Ohio man with neo-Nazi ties, is charged with driving his car into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer.

Two Virginia state troopers also died when their surveillance helicopter crashed near the protests. 

Fields was indicted on one federal count of a hate crime resulting in Heyer's death, 28 counts of hate crimes for causing bodily injury and involving an attempt to kill, and one count of racially motivated violent interference with a federally protected activity.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) has announced a state of emergency for Charlottesville and parts of Northern Virginia in anticipation of the anniversary.

“Virginia continues to mourn the three Virginians who lost their lives in the course of the demonstrations a year ago. We hope the anniversary of those events passes peacefully,” he said in a press release.