On Saturday, February, 8th in Washington DC, roughly 150 fascists marched from Arlington, VA over a bridge past the Lincoln Memorial, past the African American history museum and then rallied in front of the US Capitol.
The masked fascist group Patriot Front, formerly known as Vanguard America, marched. You might recognize those names from the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville in 2017. The fascist who murdered Heather Heyer was not only linked to this group, but marched with them in Charlottesville.
The Washington DC police (Parks Police, Metro and Capitol) who escorted the group of fascists in a tight formation didn’t seem to mind this fact and prevented members of the media or other people from getting too close.
The police’s protection of Patriot Front came to a head when the fascist group decided they would rally in front of the United States Capitol Building. Patriot Front was promptly allowed onto the grounds and members of the media and other watchers were prevented from following them. For about 10 minutes, the entirety of the lawn in front of Capitol Hill was shut off from everyone, save a Southern Poverty Law Center designated hate group. When asked why the police were preventing media from photographing, no one answered.
I’ve covered rallies in Washington, DC for nearly 20 years now. I’ve never seen a group allowed to have a private space protected by the police department and no one else was allowed in. Even at the MOAR rally, which happened two years ago on the Capitol lawn, members of the public and media were mostly allowed in and out of the space. If nothing else, press was allowed within close proximity of the event. That event was a private commercial for a fascist group. MOAR had their own film crews, and no doubt will post a slickly edited ad.
After a private rally at the Capitol, the DC police escorted the fascists along backstreets until they came upon a Walmart where they entered a parking garage where their vans were staging so they could leave the city. This went on for quite some time, as they had five or six vans, some clearly rented and others likely owned by them. The police formed a blockade with bikes and vehicles preventing the media, anti-fascists, and several locals from entering the area.
Members of Patriot Front sped off reportedly back to Richmond, Virginia where they were camping. There were rumors that these marches would take place on both Saturday and Sunday but the understanding is now that they got what they needed and will now move on to another city.
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