Several free speech rallies planned for DC this Sunday

Many different rallies are planned to take place on Sunday in D.C.

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - Rallies have become a common sight in DC this year, but this weekend might be a little unique.

A handful of groups plan to hold dueling rallies about political rhetoric and free speech.

The "Freedom of Speech Rally" will kick off at 12pm at the Lincoln Memorial. Colton Merwin, 19, of Baltimore organized the event as an outlet for conservatives to discuss political ideas, topics regarding free speech and immigration.

That event will have multiple speakers including Alt-Right figurehead Richard Spencer. His appearance has sparked controversy, but Merwin defended the rally's decision to have him speak.

"To support free speech, you have to support all aspects of the conservative right and libertarian right as well," he said.

DC United Against Hate will hold another rally to directly oppose the Freedom of Speech Rally at the Lincoln Memorial. It is scheduled to start at 11am. Organizers plan to bring attention to the multiple acts of racist behavior that have popped up around the DMV. Reverend Graylan Hagler, of Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ, told WUSA9 that hate speech is something that cannot be tolerated.

"Given the history we have in the United States of America, disparaging speech leads to violence," he said.

At 12pm, another rally will kick off outside the White House. The event is called the " Rally Against Political Violence" at the White House.

Political operative Roger Stone and former Virginia gubernatorial candidate Corey Stewart are scheduled to speak. According to the rally's Facebook page, the rally will condemn violence such as the shooting of Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise.

Finally, also at noon, protesters will gather at the DC Police headquarters to oppose the right-wing agenda and police brutality. The rally has been nicknamed the "Really Really Free Speech Rally".

DC Police told WUSA9 it will monitor that protest just as it would any other protest. Park Police released the following statement regarding the other rallies.

"The United States Park Police maintains a robust patrol presence.  We consistently analyze information to detect and deter threats to public safety. In order to protect the integrity of our operations, we are unable to discuss the logistics of our security footprint. The USPP makes no distinction regarding a groups message or political standpoint.  Our intent is to protect our treasured icons and the people people who visit them."
 

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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