White supremacists to rally outside White House year on from deadly clash
All firearms will be banned from the Washington protest site
White supremacists are set to rally outside the White House on Sunday, one year after torch-wielding neo-Nazis clashed with counter demonstrators in a deadly protest that highlighted the growing boldness of the extreme right in the US.
Organised by Unite the Right – the same network that called last year's protest in Charlottesville, Virginia – Sunday's rally will once again lead to extremists standing face-to-face with anti-fascists.
"I don't know exactly what will happen, but it probably will not be good," tweeted Richard Spencer, a leader of the so-called alt-right movement, who said he would be staying away from the rally.
All firearms will be banned from the Washington protest site, including those legally carried by licensed gun owners, officials said.
Rally organisers encouraged supporters to bring a US or Confederate flags, and warned people not to react angrily to counter protesters.
"There will certainly be provocateurs trying to get a reaction out of you by trying to stick cameras in peoples' faces, yelling, etc," the Unite the Right stated.
Members of the leftist Answer Coalition plan a "mass action" to counter the white nationalists.
Last year's protests in Charlottesville on August 11 involved hundreds of neo-Nazi sympathisers chanting white nationalist and anti-Jewish slogans while wielding flaming torches - scenes reminiscent of racist rallies held before the US civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s.
When the demonstrations continued on August 12, fighting broke out between neo-Nazis and counter-demonstrators, including members of the anti-fascist Antifa group.
The violence culminated when a man plowed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing a woman named Heather Heyer and injuring 19.
On Saturday, marchers in Charlottesville held peaceful demonstrations and people laid flowers on a makeshift memorial to Heyer.
President Donald Trump was roundly condemned last year for saying there was "blame on both sides" for the violence, condemning the anti-fascists who came "with clubs in their hands".
Two days later, after a firestorm of criticism, the president said racism was "evil and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups".
On Saturday the president issued a generic condemnation of racism.
"The riots in Charlottesville a year ago resulted in senseless death and division," he tweeted. "We must come together as a nation. I condemn all types of racism and acts of violence. Peace to ALL Americans!"
President Trump's daughter Ivanka, a White House aide, was more explicit in her condemnation of the "ugly display of hatred, racism, bigotry & violence" last year at Charlottesville.
"While Americans are blessed to live in a nation that protects liberty, freedom of speech and diversity of opinion, there is no place for white supremacy, racism and neo-nazism in our great country," she tweeted.
"Rather than tearing each other down with hatred, racism & violence, we can lift one another up, strengthen our communities and strive to help every American achieve his or her full potential!"
The tweets are notable because her father drew scorn after the Charlottesville bloodshed for initially avoiding any condemnation of the torch-bearing white supremacists who took part in that rally.
Updated: August 11, 2019 03:42 PM