Counter-protesters vastly outnumbered white nationalists at Unite the Right 2

Photos from the day show a massive mobilization against the alt-right.

On August 12, 2018, one year after the white nationalist-organized “Unite the Right” protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, collapsed into chaos and violence that left one counter-protester dead and dozens injured, groups gathered near the White House for another “white civil rights rally.

The effort largely ended in failure.

Counter-protestors march against the far-right’s Unite the Right 2 rally in Lafayette Square park.Daniel Slim/AFP/Getty Images
Counter-protestors march against the far-right’s Unite the Right 2 rally in Lafayette Square park.
A counter-demonstrator shouts and gestures at participants in the white supremacist Unite the Right 2 rally.Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
A counter-demonstrator shouts and gestures at participants in the white supremacist Unite the Right 2 rally.
Thousands of counter-protesters rallied in Lafayette Square park, just north of the White House, outnumbering the alt-right.Jacquelyn Martin/AP
Thousands of counter-protesters rallied in Lafayette Square park, just north of the White House, outnumbering the alt-right.

The white nationalist rally, which was expected to last two hours, finished before it was even scheduled to begin, as protesters trudged away due to a heavy rain storm. And although event organizer Jason Kessler had expected as many as 400 people to attend, photos of the rally suggest that the crowd didn’t even amount to one-tenth of that size.

From the moment they arrived in DC, the alt-right attendees were greatly outnumbered by thousands of counter-protesters, who took to the streets in both Charlottesville and Washington, DC, this weekend to push back against emboldened white supremacy.

Jason Kessler, center, organizer of the Unite the Right protest, marches with a couple dozen white nationalists under police escort to their rally in Lafayette Square park.
Jason Kessler, who organized the Unite the Right rally, speaks in Lafayette Square park across from the White House.
DC Metro Police form a protective phalanx around participants in the white supremacist Unite the Right rally as they march to White House.
Jason Kessler (pictured top left) and about 30 white nationalists were protected by DC Metro Police as they conducted their Unite the Right 2 rally. | Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call; Mark Wilson, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Jason Kessler (pictured top left) and about 30 white nationalists, vastly outnumbered by thousands of anti-protesters, were protected by DC Metro Police as they conducted their Unite the Right 2 rally. | Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call; Mark Wilson, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

One of the largest counter-protests on Sunday came from the Shut it Down DC coalition, a group of nearly 40 organizations and community groups. The coalition held a “Still Here, Still Strong” rally in DC’s Freedom Plaza. A permitted event that included speeches and music, the rally aimed to amplify the voices of marginalized groups targeted by the the alt-right one year ago in Charlottesville. Meanwhile, Black Lives Matter DC and other groups held additional counter-protests and marches throughout the city.

Counter-protesters said they were demonstrating against much more than a single rally. “This kind of violence follows you,” Constance, a survivor of the car attack that killed Heather Heyer during last year’s Charlottesville protests, told those gathered for the Shut It Down DC event. “In reality, it’s woven into the fabric of our history.”

Members of the Antifa and Blac Bloc burn a Confederate battle flag near Lafayette Square park.Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Members of the Antifa and Blac Bloc burn a Confederate battle flag near Lafayette Square park.
 Jacquelyn Martin/AP
Counter protesters overwhelmed Kesller and his Unite the Right 2 march.

As Vox’s Jane Coaston noted before the events on Sunday, Unite the Right 2 follows a flurry of setbacks for the alt-right and many of its most prominent members. “Attendance numbers, then, won’t tell us everything about how strong (or how fragmented) the alt-right has been since Charlottesville, but they will give us a snapshot of a part of the current movement.”

Demonstrators against racism march along city streets as they mark the anniversary of last year’s Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, VA.Steve Helber/AP
Demonstrators against racism march along city streets as they mark the anniversary of last year’s Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, VA.
Susan Bro (center), mother of Heather Heyer, hugs a young woman near a makeshift memorial for her daughter in Charlottesville, VA.Win McNamee/Getty Images
Susan Bro (center), mother of Heather Heyer, hugs a young woman near a makeshift memorial for her daughter in Charlottesville, VA.
Members of the Charlottesville community gather near a makeshift memorial for Heather Heyer.Win McNamee/Getty Images
Members of the Charlottesville community gather near a makeshift memorial for Heather Heyer.

For those who gathered in Washington to protest the event, the second coming of Unite the Right offered a different opportunity: a chance to show the strength and resilience of marginalized communities. “DC is not a political playground for white supremacist attitudes and ideals,” Makia Green, an organizer with Black Lives Matter DC, told a crowd of counter-protesters on Sunday. “Real people live here.”

Counter-protesters march from Freedom Plaza to Lafayette Park before the Unite the Right 2 rally.Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images
Counter-protesters march from Freedom Plaza to Lafayette Park before the Unite the Right 2 rally.