Protestors gathered outside of the White House Sunday evening to denounce the violence that occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia, the day before and demand that a statue memorializing a Confederate general be torn down.
The event, which was billed as a candlelight vigil to honor the victims, was a rally featuring remarks against white supremacists, fascists, Donald Trump, and several other Republicans, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Rep. Steve Scalise — who is still recovering from a gunshot wound he sustained from a crazed Bernie Sanders supporter in June. The protestors then marched to Judiciary Square to demand a statue of Albert Pike, a Confederate general, be removed.
Over the weekend, white supremacists from across the country gathered in Charlottesville to protest the city’s decision to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee from Emancipation Park, formerly known as Lee Park. Among counter-protestors who marched in opposition to white supremacists was 32-year old Heather Heyer, who was killed when a car plowed into a crowd of counter-protestors. Nineteen others were injured and two Virginia state troopers, Pilot Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates, died in a helicopter crash en route to the violent scene. President Trump released a statement denouncing the violence “on both sides,” which spurred anger for targeting both anti-fascist counter-demonstrators and neo-Nazis.
In Washington DC, protestors gathered in solidarity with the victims, opposition to Trump, and to demand a statue memorializing a figure of the Confederacy be removed.
Eugene Puryear of Stop Police Terror Project DC spoke into a bullhorn denouncing the Department of Justice’s decision to open a civil rights investigation into the car-ramming incident, saying it should be investigated as terrorism. He also called out Sessions and Scalise, alleging they have ties to white supremacists.
Puryear initially stumbled over Heather Heyer’s name, calling her “Hayley” then asking the crowd what her name was. He said they shouldn’t let her death be in vain, citing her Facebook post against white supremacists shortly before she was struck and killed by a car, which eyewitnesses say plowed into the crowd intentionally.
Protestors then marched to the Albert Pike Memorial across from Judiciary Square. Along the way they shouted for Trump to “go” and took a moment to boo at the Trump Hotel.
After the crowd gathered in front of the Albert Pike memorial, protestors chanted “Tear it down! Tear it down!”
A moment of silence for the Charlottesville victims in front of the statue was held, where some lit candles.
After the moment was up, Puryear rallied the crowd against the statue.
Another speaker then dismissed the crowd.