Perhaps I’m wrong, but that’s my strong hunch and this is why.
Earlier this summer, in Harrison, Arkansas, there was a far right demonstration called in response to a supposed left-wing demonstration that never materialized. The rightists got about fifty people there, many from out of state. (No word on representation by Illinois Nazis.)
Does that sound like a lot? It might at first, until you remember that there is an actual Klan compound not far from Harrison. They’ve got a fair number of people there and they’ve got ties into the local community. And yet, these people had to bring in out-of-staters to make their crowd.
I think we’re seeing what we’re being shown: A lot of rightist propaganda spread through social media to give a falsely inflated impression of their size and strength. This is what happened today in Durham:
11:25 a.m.: In a recorded message to employees, Durham County closed office buildings and sent workers home early on Friday. All employees were instructed to leave for the day, take their belongings and avoid downtown.
11:40 a.m.: Police have blocked the road in front of the old Durham County Courthouse at 201 E. Main St. ahead of a rumored white supremacist protest.
12:07 p.m.: Crowds of people could be seen holding signs on Main Street in downtown Durham. A banner read “We will no longer be intimidated,” and people were seen holding “Black Lives Matter” signs.
12:23 p.m.: So far, there is no evidence of a white supremacist demonstration
12:50 p.m.: A man said he was attending the protest to stand up against “another round of Jim Crow (laws).” He said it was a good place to be today.
12:54 p.m.: A group was seen burning a Confederate flag
12:56 p.m.: A UNC professor said she was attending the demonstration to stand up against bigotry
1:08 p.m.: A group of protesters defaced what remains of a confederate monument in downtown Durham. “Death to the Klan” was written on the monument.
1:12 p.m.: A “party-like” atmosphere was described in downtown Durham as people danced to drumbeats and others could be heard chanting
1:23 p.m.: No hate groups, white supremacists, or KKK members have been seen in or around Durham.
Multiple people were taking part in a dance party. They said they were “dancing the hate away.”
Sounds like a great time! Especially since the guests of dishonor didn’t show up.
I bet that’s what almost every counter-protest looks like. We’ll see, but that’s my bet–it’ll mostly be counter-protest-dance-parties.