Conservatives led by President Donald Trump continue to insist that they’re the persecuted ones here following developments like getting banned from social media platforms for peddling lies and virulent hate speech. To that end, a large group gathered in D.C. this weekend for a so-called “Demand Free Speech” rally — but they were outnumbered by counterprotesters by around 2 to 1, according to reports. Although some of the most direct factions on both sides were represented, including the radical right-wing fraternal organization the Proud Boys and so-called Antifa demonstrators, there were no apparent violent clashes — just a lot of angry white people shouting into the void about social media. They really can’t get over themselves, can they?
Crowd at Demand Free Speech rally is diminishing, but speakers are going strong. “We are not crazy, we are bold,” they say. pic.twitter.com/mlGbBlY5Dx
— Olivia R. Sanchez (@oliviarsanchez) July 6, 2019
Apparently, there were only ever around 250 conservative rally attendees in the first place. The right wing’s event had speakers scheduled like former Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos and longtime Trump associate Roger Stone, both of whose social media usage has come under scrutiny.
Yiannopoulos has been banned from Twitter and more recently Facebook, and in the wake of his removal, he has used a far-right social media platform to suggest that a violent uprising was in order because of the supposed inappropriate crackdown on conservatives. Stone, meanwhile, is currently awaiting trial in a massive obstruction of justice case sparked by his attempts to conceal his efforts to connect the Trump team and Russia, and has himself been banned from Twitter. In his court case, he’s been slapped with a gag order after having rushed to Instagram to post threateningly about the judge handling his case, although that order hasn’t stopped him from blabbing about the situation left and right.
The weekend D.C. situation is not the first in which right-wing plans for some kind of attention-grabbing demonstration have fizzled out. On the one year anniversary of a weekend of violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, organizers like far right shill Jason Kessler tried to have a do-over “Unite The Right” rally in D.C. — and only about two dozen people showed up, who were unsurprisingly dwarfed by the protest presence.
On one recent occasion, one of these confrontations devolved into more violence. Clashes between Antifa demonstrators and groups like the Proud Boys in Portland, Oregon, resulted in three reported hospitalizations. One of those injured was prominent right wing provocateur Andy Ngo, who has apparently often sought to engage on the side of the right wingers in these kinds of antagonistic situations. This time around in D.C., there was a heavy police presence.
President Donald Trump himself has in the past weighed in both in the situation of confronting Antifa protesters and the supposed discrimination conservatives face on social media. Spoiler alert: private companies deciding that users can’t spread credible calls to violence, hate speech, or outright lies isn’t some kind of conspiracy. Neither is the algorithms on these platforms not prioritizing conservative accounts above all others all the time — Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz once went on a tangent about supposed anti-conservative bias at Twitter because he was automatically suggested the accounts of Democratic officials to follow. Republicans are showing no sign of letting up in their speedy descent into conspiratorial rambling.
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