WASHINGTON, DC (WJZ) — Protest groups are getting ready for a possible clash in the nation’s capital, while law enforcement in DC prepares to gear up for the potentially tense clash.
Charlottesville, Virginia denied a permit for this repeat event, so organizers decided to move it up north to Lafayette Park, right in front of the White House.
Last year, violent clashes with counter-protestors left one woman, Heather Heyer, dead.
Gov. Larry Hogan said Maryland is ready to help.
“There is no place in our society for the kind of hatred that these groups are out there spouting. I’ve reached out to both the District of Columbia and Virginia to offer any kind of assistance they may need.” Hogan said.
As the group and other counter-protestors head for the nation’s capital, Hogan has instructed Maryland State agencies to be ready to respond and to coordinate in advance with DC officials.
“We know what our responsibility is to protect first amendment events, to protect Washingtonians and to protect our city, and we will do just that,” DC Mayor Muriel Bowser said.
Bowser is outlining her security plans for the Unite the Right Rally. She said she has activated emergency operations aimed at protecting property and people.
Virginia declared a state of emergency earlier this week.
Last year, when white supremacy groups collided in Charlottesville, Virginia, the confrontations were deadly. Which no city leader wants repeated Sunday.
“Law enforcement’s goal during the entire operational period will be to keep the two groups separated,” said Metropolitan Police Department chief Peter Newsham.
Unite the Right leaders said they are using Sunday’s rally in the nation’s capital as an opportunity to stand up for their civil rights.
While the city locks down and law enforcement gears up, Baltimore’s religious leaders said they are planning a different approach.
“We’re bringing people from all over Sandtown, and all over Baltimore City, to go to the Unite the Right Rally,” said Reverend Rodney Hudson of Ames Memorial United Methodist Church.
They are headed to DC armed with their own message.
“We want the people of Unite the Right to know that we love them,” Hudson said. “We love everyone. And, we’re going to silence their negativity by showing love.”
Other interfaith leaders who disagree with people who organized the rally held a public prayer service Friday night.
Maryland Congressman Jamie Raskin attended.
“They certainly have a first amendment right to be marching and nobody disputes that, but if they would have had their way, they would destroy the constitution for everybody else,” Raskin said.
The permit application said 400 people were expected for Sunday’s event, but that number could change.
The event is scheduled Sunday afternoon into Sunday night in Lafayette Square.