Trump, Ivanka condemn racism ahead of right-wing rally
The “Unite the Right 2”march will be countered by marchers that have come together from a range of organisations such as Black Lives Matter and DC United Against Hate.Updated: Aug 13, 2018 00:44 IST
US President Donald Trump and his daughter and senior adviser Ivanka Trump condemned racism and called for unity and peace, even as hundreds of white nationalists descended upon Washington for a march to the White House later on Sunday.
The “Unite the Right 2”march — held to commemorate the anniversary of a 2017 rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that claimed three lives — will be countered by marchers that have come together from a range of organisations such as Black Lives Matter and DC United Against Hate.
While both protesters and counter-protesters are headed to Lafayette Park, just outside the White House, they have permits for different routes and gathering points. Authorities plan to keep them apart to avoid confrontations that tend to turn heated and violent — last year, one woman was killed and several others were injured in numerous skirmishes that broke out.
The Trumps are not in Washington — the president is on a working vacation at his New Jersey golf resort — but both appeared keen to get a handle on the situation before it turned ugly.
“One year ago in Charlottesville, we witnessed an ugly display of hatred, racism, bigotry & violence,” Ivanka Trump tweeted on Saturday, adding: “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.
“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!”
Her father had called for peace in a tweet earlier in the day. “The riots in Charlottesville a year ago resulted in senseless death and division. We must come together as a nation. I condemn all types of racism and acts of violence. Peace to ALL Americans!” he wrote.
This post was in remarkable contrast to the equivalency he had seemed to display in remarks last year. He had said there were ““some very fine people” on both sides, which was widely taken as support for the white nationalists, who had called for the protests.
Authorities in Washington are confident in their ability to do better this year because, unlike Charlottesville, they do handle hundreds of these rallies, called First Amendment events. “There is no city better equipped to handle large-scale events, including First Amendment events, than Washington,” police chief Peter Newsham has said.
The lead organiser of “Unite the Right 2”, Jason Keeler, has told authorities he expects his march to be joined by an estimated 400 people. But there are doubts if they will be able to raise that many people. There are some notable absences — Richard Spencer, one of the co-organisers of last year’s Charlottesville rally with Kessler, has decided to skip it.
The protestors, being organised by DC United Against Hate, Black Lives Matter, Shut it Down DC and other organizations, have planned separate rallies that are expected to bring around 1,000 people.
Authorities believe the key to keeping it peaceful is to keep the groups separate and prevent close confrontations that could lead fights. Police have also prohibited firearms within 1,000 yards of the event, which will apply even to those with license to carry them.