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'Unite the Right' rally, counterprotest to take place as groups gather in DC this weekend

"Unite the Right" rally and counter protest will take place on Aug.12 in D.C. (ABC7 photo)

White supremacists and counterprotesters will gather for separate rallies this weekend in Washington, D.C.

"Unite the Right," a white civil rights rally, is scheduled to take place at D.C.'s Lafayette Square near the White House on Aug. 12. This will be the second Unite the Right rally since the first one was held on Aug. 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia.

On Tuesday, Unite the Right organizer Jason Kessler released the names of confirmed speakers for the rally to the National Parks Service.

Kessler, Patrick Little, David Duke, former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, Simon Roche, Kevin Cormier, Ava Horton, Corey Mahler, and Tom Kawczynski will speak at Sunday's rally.

Metropolitan Police released a traffic advisory for the rally with a number of areas that will be impacted between the hours of 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Sunday.

Kessler was the organizer of the Charlottesville rally, and he is planning the D.C. rally this Sunday which marks the one-year anniversary of a deadly confrontation between white supremacists and counterprotesters in Charlottesville. Heather Heyer, 32, was a counterprotester at the Charlottesville rally, and was killed after a car plowed into a crowd of people injuring 19 others.

Kessler, on his official Twitter page, tweeted "The latest update on #UTR2 is that we're going to be focusing exclusively on Washington DC on August 12th. Be ready by 2 pm that Sunday and check the email list for update on the meetup location."

Additionally, a coalition of groups including Black Lives Matter and Shut It Down D.C. are planning a D.C. United Against Hate counter-demonstration near Freedom Plaza followed by a march to the White House.

The National Park Service approved the permits for the “Unite The Right 2” rally along with four counter demonstrations. The five permits have not been issued yet as additional details are needed. The groups could get the official green light as late as the day before.

“The National Park Service in granting these permits, neither condones nor condemns the messages, we merely provide the platform for those rights to take place,” said Mike Litterst, a National Park Service spokesperson.

Metropolitan Police, National Park Police and the Secret Service are working together to prevent the violent clashes like what happened in Charlottesville.

“The park police and the law enforcement partners are looking at any lessons that may be learned from previous demonstrations to ensure there is no violence,” said Litterst.

Free speech and the right to assemble are both First Amendment rights, but some White House visitors Monday do not agree with the white supremacy rally.

“In the year 2018, you would think we were over that, but some people think that we still have to fight that battle,” said Aba Diakite, a Los Angeles resident.

“I do think that you’re allowed to do it, but I’m disappointed in the topic that they choose to do it with,” said Mah-Sere Keita, a former District resident.

“Everybody’s entitled to their own way of thought and everyone’s entitled to free speech. Maybe that should be done in their own backyard because this is 2018, we’re not back 300 years ago,” said Diana Martinez, a Fresno, California resident.

“It’s their first amendment right. Uh, they’re sure expressing themselves,” said Sam Gallagher, a Los Angeles resident.

Metro has scheduled track work that will take place from Saturday, Aug. 11 through Sunday, Aug. 26. According to the company's website, crews will repair the tracks structure, including installing a new rail and improvements to concrete pads that support the rails. Crews are expected to work on each track for a week at a time allowing single-tracking service to continue.

During the weekends of Aug.11-12 and Aug. 25-26, Farragut West, McPherson Square, and Metro Center (Orange/Silver.Blue lines) will be closed. For more information visit wmata.com.

RELATED: D.C. braces for white supremacist rally one year after Charlottesville

On Aug. 3, there were reports of Metro providing three private rail cars ahead of the Unite the Right rally.

Metro Board chairman Jack Evans said there would be no separate trains for white nationalists attending the upcoming Unite the Right rally in D.C.

RELATED: Metro board chairman: No separate trains for white nationalists attending D.C. rally

Evans said the board planned to discuss platform security and ways to maintain control and keep everyone safe during the Aug. 12 event.

Sources shared with ATU Local 689 that a Ku Klux Klan-affiliated hate group would be provided with the Metro rail cars and a police escort would reportedly stop at the Foggy Bottom Metro Station on Aug. 11 and 12.

Union president Jackie Jeter released a statement regarding that information:

Local 689 is proud to provide transit to everyone for the many events we have in D.C. including the March of Life, the Women’s March and Black Lives Matters. We draw the line at giving special accommodation to hate groups and hate speech, especially considering that the courts granted Metro the ability to deny ads on buses and trains that are ‘issue-oriented,’ we find it hypocritical for Mr. Wiedefeld to make these unprecedented special accommodations for a hate group.

RELATED: Source: Hate group to be provided 3 private Metro rail cars ahead of Unite the Right rally

Metro released the following statement to ABC7 News Friday, Aug. 3 in relation to the allegations:

As we do for all events of this nature, Metro is working collaboratively with law enforcement to ensure safe travel for our customers and employees. Transit Police are engaged in ongoing discussions with MPD, the lead agency for the Aug. 12 event, as well as Virginia State Police and others as to how to keep everyone safe on that day. While details of the plan are security sensitive at this stage, I can tell you that it has *not* been finalized.

ATU Local 689 said more than 80 percent of their members are people of color.

This story has been updated Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018





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