Anti-hate, Alt-Right free speech groups rally on steps of Lincoln Memorial

Alt-right groups gathered while anti-hate groups countered. Both protests were peaceful.

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - It was a day of dueling rallies at the Lincoln Memorial Sunday, with an anti-hate rally on one side of the steps and an alt-right free speech rally on the other.

“We’re going to start history all over again,” said controversial white nationalist and alt-right voice, Richard Spencer.  “The most radical thing you can say is, 'I am white, my life has meaning.'”

Spencer said he didn’t choose the Lincoln Memorial for Sunday's rally, but told reporters it was appropriate.

“The idea that he was some great emancipator is a bit of a myth- so yes, I do think he would support us,” he said.

Another speaker, Jason Kessler, who was flying a Confederate flag, felt differently about the civil president and yelled “F--- You, Abraham Lincoln” to another round of cheers.

RELATED: Several free speech rallies planned for Sunday

The crowd consisted of about 100 people, the vast majority of whom were young men, like 20-year-old Robert Smith, dressed like a Nazi Brownshirt.

“I know I look like a Nazi," he said. "You can say a lot about the Nazis, but they look pretty good.”

Higher up, on the steps of the memorial, another rally was taking place. This one countered hate.

A granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor was among the speakers

And 81, Marione Ingram, listened on. She's also a Holocaust survivor and wanted to attend the anti-hate rally to stand her ground against the ralliers on the other side.

“I am terrified that we’re on a course that looks like it is irreversible,” she said.

Although plenty of police were on hand in case of violence, the two rallies coexisted peacefully.

Police interfered in one minor skirmish after Free Speech ralliers surrounded a protestor in an attempt to intimate him when he refused to leave their rally.

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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