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Vox Sentences: DC braces for impact

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The alt-right plans to rally in Washington; Trump’s words have currency in Turkey.

One year after Charlottesville

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  • Members of the alt-right (white supremacists and Nazis alike) will converge on the White House on Sunday on the first anniversary of the infamous violent “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. The event has Washington, DC, and its residents on high alert. [Reuters / Joseph Ax and Makini Brice]
  • This year, however, there are many rules. Organizer Jason Kessler says the rally is limited to a march from a metro station to Lafayette Square, in front of the White House. He also stated that rallygoers should not bring flags that are not American or Confederate (no Nazi flags) or encourage any fighting. [Vox / Jane Coaston]
  • Kessler, who also organized last year’s rally, initially wanted to mark the anniversary in Charlottesville, but the government denied his permit request. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has still declared a state of emergency, amped up the city’s police presence, and allocated $2 million in state funding toward managing Charlottesville after an independent report “found serious police and government failures” in the way Virginia handled the rally. [AP / Alan Suderman]
  • Unite the Right made headlines in 2017 after the rally to protest the removal of a Confederate statue quickly turned violent, when white nationalists clashed with counterprotesters. Heather Heyer, a young counterdemonstrator, was killed by a self-avowed Nazi sympathizer. [Vox / Dara Lind]
  • President Donald Trump then infamously said there was “blame on both sides” and “two sides to a story.” He received immense criticism for his response. But there was only one side chanting, “Jews will not replace us.” [Vox / Brian Resnick]
  • Kessler only expects 400 people to attend this year; at least, that’s what his permit says. [National Park Service]
  • He may not be wrong. Prominent white nationalist leaders said that they would probably not attend an anniversary march because of the financial, political, and personal losses they suffered due to costly legal fees and negative media coverage from last year’s riot. [Newsweek / Michael Edison Hayden]
  • Nevertheless, it’s hard to anticipate how things will play out. A series of counterprotests called “Still Here, Still Strong” could draw a crowd of around 3,000 activists across DC, according to various permits. Some of these counterprotests will go down at the White House as well. [WTOP / Jack Pointer]
  • DC and various companies have reminded restaurants and drivers that they have the right to refuse service if they don’t want to “host a fringe ideological group” because it would probably “not violate the DC Human Rights Act’s prohibition on discrimination.” [Eater / Tierney Plumb]
  • The alt-right has slowly diminished in popularity over the past year. While Kessler thought the Unite the Right rally would be a “pivotal moment” for white nationalism, it instead “empowered a leftist political coalition that vows to confront generations of racial and economic injustice.” [NYT / Farah Stockman]
  • There’s a split among the alt-right coalition on how to approach this year’s rally. Some, worried about optics, want to distance themselves from openly racist and anti-Semitic iconography; others decry the thought of toning things down as “optics-cucking.” [Vox / Jane Coaston]
  • Though none of the organizers of this weekend’s events are encouraging fights between the two groups, there are still fears that violence could rise. Aubtin Heydari, who was nearly killed at the Charlottesville rally, shared his story with Vox’s Today, Explained podcast. He encouraged all people who oppose white nationalist ideologies to think carefully about the choice to put themselves in harm’s way by counterprotesting in person, and suggests some alternate ways to fight back. [Today, Explained]

Turkey is Trump’s latest public enemy No. 1

  • The value of the Turkish lira dropped by 20 percent on Friday after President Trump tweeted that he would double tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum. There are now fears that Trump’s words could “destabilize economies well beyond” Turkey. [NYT / Jack Ewing]
  • Increasingly authoritarian President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has already faced criticism for the Middle Eastern country’s struggling economy. Defending the country, Erdogan said that while the US has “their dollars, we have ... our God.” He’s called on Turkish citizens to convert out of the US dollar and support the lira as much as possible. [CNBC / David Reid]
  • Trump isn’t wrong when he said “our relations with Turkey are not good at this time”: Turkey is moving ahead with the purchase of a Russian missile defense system (despite disapproval from the US), disagrees with the US on policy in Syria, and has detained an American evangelical pastor, Andrew Brunson, since 2016 for allegedly taking part in a failed coup. [WSJ / Dion Nissenbaum]
  • Amid Turkey’s economic struggles, tourism is surging. Many travelers are taking advantage of the struggling lira, which fell by 34 percent over the past year. [Guardian / Antonia Wilson]


  • Today marks 25 years since Ruth Bader Ginsburg took the bench of the Supreme Court. Here’s to 25 more, Notorious RBG! [Glamour / Julyssa Lopez]
  • A Maryland woman was not allowed to see her newborn baby for five days after a poppyseed bagel she ate triggered a positive result for a drug test. [WBAL / Theo Hayes]
  • The Perseid meteor shower will peak on Satuday. City dwellers will have a harder time witnessing the “Old Faithful” of meteor showers, but you’ll up your changes if you head to the darkest location you can find and procure a pair of binoculars. [Space / Joe Rao]
  • There’s a greater chance that a woman will die in the emergency room of a hospital if her doctor is a man, according to a new study. [Scientific American / Angus Chen]


“Get your act together. Stop hating, treat people the way you want to be treated.” [Susan Bro, whose daughter Heather Heyer was killed in the Charlottesville riot, on the second Unite the Right rally / USA Today]

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