Metro considering private rail cars for white nationalists for Unite the Right rally, union says

Metro officials are considering offering a private train for white nationalists participating in the Unite the Right rally in the District, according to Metro union workers.

ATU Local 689 said sources have told them that Metro officials are considering to provide members of the Unite the Right rally with three private rail cars on one Metro train to participate in their event scheduled for Aug. 12.

The union said the plan being considered would provide the train and police escort from Virginia to the Foggy Bottom-GWU Metro station. The crowd would then march through the District to Lafayette Park near the White House.

ATU Local 689 is opposed to what they are calling special accommodations while more than 80 percent of its membership are people of color.

"Local 689 is proud to provide transit to everyone for the many events we have in D.C. including the March of Life, the Women's March and Black Lives Matters," ATU Local 689 President Jackie Jeter said in a written statement. "We draw the line at giving special accommodation to hate groups and hate speech, especially considering that the courts granted Metro the ability to deny ads on buses and trains that are 'issue-oriented,' we find it hypocritical for (Metro General Manager) Mr. Wiedefeld to make these unprecedented special accommodations for a hate group."

FOX 5 asked Metro about its plans for the weekend of Aug. 11 and 12, but a spokesperson said in a statement that while many of the details are security sensitive, nothing has been finalized.
Metro Transit Police is working with D.C. police to try to keep everyone safe.

"It certainly puts the workers at risk, but again I can't stress enough this is unprecedented," said union spokesperson David Stephen. "Here we are in Washington D.C., the home of the president of the United States. But for some reason, we need a chartered train for this group which very frankly is a hate group, and that is a problem in itself. It creates an unsafe environment for everyone that they are around."

This year's rally, spearheaded by white nationalist Jason Kessler, is being organized by the same group behind the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville.

In Aug. 2017, hundreds of people traveled to Charlottesville to participate in the Unite the Right rally and protest the city's plans to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee from a park that was named after the Confederate general. The list of scheduled speakers included several leading white nationalist figures, including Richard Spencer.

On the eve of the Aug. 12 rally, dozens of young white men wearing khakis and polo shirts marched through the University of Virginia's campus, carrying torches and chanting racist and anti-Semitic slogans. The next day, hundreds of white supremacists and counterprotesters clashed in the streets before a car plowed into a crowd, killing 32-year-old counterprotester Heather Heyer.

James Fields Jr., 21, of Maumee, Ohio, is charged with murder in Heyer's killing under Virginia state law. He is charged separately in federal court with hate crimes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.