Dear Commons Community,
The media was abuzz all last week about the rallies and demonstrations that would take place in Washington, D.C. and Charlottesville, Virginia yesterday on the one-year anniversary of the bloody confrontation in Charlottesville. White supremacist groups asked for permits as did counter-protesters, but the white supremacists hardly turned out. As reported by the New York Times:
“After weeks of hype, white supremacists managed to muster just a couple of dozen supporters on Sunday in the nation’s capital for the first anniversary of their deadly rally in Charlottesville, Va., finding themselves greatly outnumbered by counter-protesters, police officers and representatives of the news media.
But even with the low turnout, almost no one walked away with the sense that the nation’s divisions were any closer to healing.
Indeed, the streets of downtown Washington were charged on Sunday with tension, emotion and noise, particularly in the afternoon, as the right-wing agitator Jason Kessler and perhaps 20 fellow members of the far right — some wearing bright red “Make America Great Again” hats, some draped in American flags — marched under heavy police escort from the Metro station in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood to their barricaded and heavily protected rally area near the White House.
They were surrounded by a vast, rolling plume of counter-protesters, who hurled insults, waved middle fingers and chanted “Shame!”
“You killed a girl in Charlottesville!” one voice in the crowd yelled, referring to Heather Heyer, a woman who was fatally injured when a white supremacist rammed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters a year ago.
A similar dynamic to the one in Washington played out in Charlottesville on Sunday, where few if any far-right demonstrators could be found, and where the most palpable tensions developed between left-wing protesters and the police, whose presence in the city was heavy and, some argued, heavy-handed.
“The problem is, the only opposition is the police,” said Pastor Robert Lewis of the Hinton Avenue United Methodist Church, as he and a group of religious representatives stood facing rows of officers in an effort to form what he called a buffer between them and the protesters.
Only a handful of arrests were reported in Charlottesville on Sunday, including a man and a woman who got into a fistfight after the man saluted the town’s statue of Robert E. Lee. By early evening, the security cordon around the downtown area had been lifted, hours ahead of schedule.”
I would like to think that the poor turnout indicates a waning of interest on the part of the white supremacist hate groups but I don’t think so. It is more an indication of their cowardice.