‘White Lives Matter’ rallies turn out to be a fail due to dismal attendance
Rallies in Huntington Beach, Calif., New York City and other cities were met with counterdemonstrations by local Black Lives Matter chapters and antifascist protesters
Planned “White Lives Matter” rallies in major cities throughout the country on Sunday turned out to be a flop as hardly anyone showed up to the events. Instead, anti-racist and anti-fascist counterprotesters emerged in significant numbers, essentially drowning out the few protesters who appeared.
In the shoreside California city of Huntington Beach, for example, hundreds of counterprotesters, media and bystanders appeared shouting “Black lives matter” and “unity and community,” NBC reports.
Organized by the Loyal White Knights, the initial “White Lives Matter” event was scheduled for 1 p.m. California time, but it also attracted the attention of local groups like Black Lives Matter Huntington Beach, who planned the counterdemonstration hours earlier at Pier Plaza, reports the Los Angeles Times.
“I made a call-out to everybody and anybody around the city that cares at all — and there are a lot of people that care,” Black Lives Matter Huntington Beach founder Tory Johnson told the Times before Sunday’s event. “We need to show that Huntington Beach will no longer tolerate racism in any way, shape or form. This will not be a reflection of our city.”
Similar counterprotests occurred in other cities to denounce the pro-Nazi protests, including Raleigh, North Carolina, Philadelphia and New York City. In NYC, one line “White lives matter” protester appeared outside Trump Tower. Similarly, in Albuquerque, Mexico police had to form a circle around a single protester who was outnumbered by counterprotesters.
As NBC News notes, the lack of attendees at the “White Lives Matter” demonstrations is likely connected to the negative attention white supremacist groups and far-right extremists have received from the FBI and the media after hundreds were arrested and/or investigated in connection to the Capitol attack on Jan. 6.
In Huntington Beach, about 40 miles south of Los Angeles, and nearby areas of Newport Beach and Long Beach, there was reportedly an inpouring of fliers with Ku Klux Klan propaganda over the past few weeks that have been anonymously delivered to homes, according to the LA Times.
A staunchly Republican city, Huntington Beach harbors a past of violently-charged racial episodes, such as periods in the 1980s and 1990s when racist skinheads prowled the area attacking minorities.
“These groups will continue to come back unless the larger community stands against them,” Mary Adams Urashima, a Huntington Beach resident and historian, told the paper. “That has always been the case, historically, wherever the Klan or white supremacy shows up.”
Last year, the very pier to potentially host Sunday’s rally served as a platform for supporters of former President Donald Trump.
“We can’t stop people from coming to the pier, and we’re not going to be able to stop people from hiding behind the 1st Amendment to spew hateful rhetoric that’s really divisive in our community,” Mayor Kim Carr said, “but what we can do is counter it with these types of events.”
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