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‘Unite the Right’ Rally Planned Near White House; Hundreds Denounce Racism in Charlottesville

Category: Political News,Politics

Nearby, protesters skirmished with police officers, and at least one arrest had been made.

The chance of spontaneous mayhem has led to weeks of planning between Washington’s law enforcement agencies, which have developed proposals to guard marches leading to the rally and the rally itself, as well as deal with any confrontations that precede or follow it in the streets of Washington.

Sgt. James Dingeldein of the Park Police said his agency, the city’s police and the Park Service had met with Mr. Kessler and leaders of counterprotest groups to explain to them what is permissible on the grounds of the park. The Park Service has issued a detailed set of limits and prohibitions on items that can be brought in, banning some of the items that were wielded in Charlottesville. The Washington police have vowed to keep the groups separated.

“If there is potential for violence, it will be dealt with quickly,” Sergeant Dingeldein said.

Federal officials have expressed concern that violence could spill into other parts of Washington. Sergeant Dingeldein said the police agencies had riot control teams ready.

James Murray, an assistant director in the Secret Service’s Office of Protective Operations, warned in a letter on Monday to the Park Service that it was possible that tension between groups could lead to the same kind of violence that occurred in Portland, Ore., last weekend, where a right-wing rally turned violent after, the police said, a group began throwing rocks and bottles at officers.

Mr. Murray wrote that some of the same counterprotesters who seized downtown streets at the presidential inauguration in January 2017 were also interested in Sunday’s demonstrations, and were “known to have engaged in violent and destructive activity.” Members of the sometimes violent movement known as antifa are expected to be among the counterprotesters on Sunday.

Muriel E. Bowser, the Washington mayor, activated the city’s emergency operations center on Thursday. At a news conference that day, she said Unite the Right participants were an anomaly among visitors to Washington.

“Very few of our visitors share the views that will be expressed in Lafayette Square this weekend,” she said.


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