The racist "alt-right" figure who organized the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017 is proposing to mark the anniversary with a second gathering — this time in Washington, D.C.
Jason Kessler has applied to hold a “white civil rights” rally at Lafayette Square Park, which is across the street from the White House, on August 11 and Aug. 12. That would mark the one-year anniversary of the first rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in which a counter-protester and two police officers died.
The D.C. rally is one of two that Kessler is planning for that weekend.
Kessler is also seeking to hold a rally at Emancipation Park, which features a statue of Robert E. Lee, near downtown Charlottesville. That was the site of the first “Unite the Right” rally in 2017.
On the unitetherightrally.com website, Kessler has posted suggestions and rules for those attending the two gatherings.
"Our preference is that you come prepared to demonstrate in TWO RALLIES: Charlottesville and Washington DC. Try to factor in a late Sunday night into your travel arrangements,” Kessler wrote.
The Washington, D.C., rally is expected to draw about 400 people to the seven-acre park, Kessler estimated.
The National Park Service, which oversees Lafayette Square, did not immediately return messages inquiring about the permit request. On the alt-right social media site Gab, Kessler said the D.C. rally had been approved.
Both rallies are expected to draw counter-protests.
On the application, Kessler said “Antifa affiliated groups” would try to disrupt the D.C. rally.
Kessler wrote on the rally website that those in attendance should stay together and stay away from dangerous situations.
“No one should have to fight through a mob of armed Communists to enter a public park and express their Constitutional rights,” Kessler wrote. “DO BUY A BODYCAM RIGHT NOW. WEARING A BODYCAM IS MANDATORY.”
In both cases, Kessler plans to have attendees meet at rally points, then march on the designated parks.
The original Unite the Right rally in Virginia featured a torch-lit march around the University of Virginia where white men in polo shirts and khakis chanted “Jews will not replace us.”
The rally the next day devolved into armed neo-Nazis, white separatists and white supremacists challenging counter-protesters in a series of increasingly violent confrontations.
A counter-protester, 32-year-old Heather Heyer, died in Charlottesville and multiple others were injured when James Alex Fields, Jr., an Ohio man in the city to take part in the rally, allegedly gunned his car down a narrow street and struck the counter-protesters.
The site where Heyer was killed has become a memorial with people leaving chalk-written messages on the brick walls of businesses on either side of the street.
Fields is awaiting trial on a charge of first-degree murder and multiple civil lawsuits are pending against participants in the rally.
And, a federal judge is weighing whether to let a lawsuit against multiple Unite the Right participants go forward.