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The white nationalist rally that really… wasn’t




Counter-protesters line the route taken by white nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the
Counter-protesters line the route taken by white nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" during the "Unite the Right" rally August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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Thousands of people wanting to send a message that racism isn't welcome in the United States gathered in a park outside the White House to protest a white nationalist rally on the anniversary of the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

In the end, less than two dozen white nationalists showed up.

The events held in both Charlottesville and Washington, largely peaceful though tense at times, were part of a day of speeches, vigils and marches marking a year since one of the largest gatherings of white nationalists and other far-right extremists in a decade. One person was arrested in Washington on Sunday, and four others were arrested in Charlottesville.

In Charlottesville, the mother of the woman killed at last summer's rally visited the site of the attack, saying the country's racial wounds still have not healed. In Washington, a phalanx of police and a maze of metal barriers separated the small group of white nationalists from shouting counterprotesters within view of the White House.

Despite the low participation, the media was out in full force to cover the event. The rally got us thinking: what is the best strategy to deal with a rally that espouses such a viewpoint? Is it to counterprotest, and possibly giving the event more attention that it deserves?

With files from the Associated Press