Washington’s Metro rail system, the city’s subway line, is reportedly considering providing separate trains for those attending the white supremacist “Unite The Right” rally in Washington, D.C. next weekend, according to the Washington Post.
Metro board chairman Jack Evans, who is a city council member, said the move would be a preventive measure to avoid violence between the white supremacist rallygoers and counter protesters.
“We haven’t made any decisions about anything,” Evans said about conversations he has had with Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld and D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham. “We’re just trying to come up with potential solutions on how to keep everybody safe.”
But one of the plans Evans has suggested would explicitly protect white supremacists.
A potential scenario would involve rally participants gathering at the East Falls Church Metro station in suburban Virginia, boarding special cars on a train to Foggy Bottom in the heart of D.C., and then receive a police escort to the rally on the National Mall.
Outraged by the idea of providing service to a group of individuals who murdered a counter-protester at the first “Unite The Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia last August, Metro’s largest union leaked the plans to the press and vowed not to be involved in any effort to accommodate protest groups preaching intolerance.
“Sources have shared with ATU Local 689 that a hate group with Ku Klux Klan affiliation will be provided three private Metro rail cars and police escort to Foggy Bottom Metro Station for the ‘Unite the Right’ 2018 rally,” the union said.
“More than 80% of Local 689’s membership is people of color, the very people that the Ku Klux Klan and other white nationalist groups have killed, harassed and violated. The union has declared that it will not play a role in their special accommodation.”
ATU Local 689 President Jackie Jeter said that the union draws the line at providing special service for hate groups.
“Local 689 is proud to provide transit to everyone for the many events we have in D.C. including the March of Life, the Women’s March and Black Lives Matters,” Jeter said. “We draw the line at giving special accommodation to hate groups and hate speech.”
Jeter also cited a recent legal case that affirmed Metro’s decision to ban controversial advertisements on Metro buses and trains and it is “hypocritical” for Metro to service groups of white nationalists.
Activists and members of local government also have voiced opposition to the plan, and announced solidarity with Metro workers.
White supremacy and fascism aren't "differences of opinion," they're vile rejections of pluralism, democracy, human rights, and freedom. Our republic isn't improved by their consideration. It's improved by their obliteration.
— Todd Brogan, Ward 4 Committeeman (@ward4brogan) August 4, 2018
— Jeff Zimmer جف زيمر (@Abu_Jabba) August 4, 2018
The August 12 “Unite The Right” rally is being organized by the same group responsible for last year’s deadly rally in Charlottesville. After that protest, President Trump failed to condemn white supremacy, saying in a statement to the media that “many sides” were to blame for the violence.