“When transit lives are under attach, what do we do? Stand up fight back!” chanted Nee-Nee, an organizer with the Washington DC chapter of Black Lives Matter outside Metro Center.
Today staff from the DC Metro assembled with Black Lives Matter leaders to protest the $2.6 million price tag to protect “Unite the Right 2” attendees in Washington DC Sunday and the private train access they were given. Several activists decried the fact that they’d previously been promised that “Unite the Right” attendees wouldn’t be given any kind of special treatment during their event. Pictures released by News2Share and others showed that attendees were given their own traincar, and “special” was the way their route was written on the train system itself.
“Special” reads the WMATA train line description Jason Kessler is in right now, on his way to Unite the Right 2. pic.twitter.com/gIA4chsyMy
— Ford Fischer (@FordFischer) August 12, 2018
The event was led by AMALGAMATED TRANSIT UNION Local 689, which represents the operators, clerical and maintenance workers of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). The Union called for the firing of Paul J. Wiedefeld, General Manager and CEO of WMATA.
“The Metro Board hired Paul Wiedefeld, and guess what? The Metro Board can fire Paul Wiedefeld,” explained one activist with the union.
“If you were gonna be protecting anyone, you should have been protecting the counter-protesters,” said Raymond Jackson, second Vice President of Local 689. “It’s an insult to me as a member of this community.”
“There is enough that needs to be done with taxpayer money… that money could have been doing something better than helping 25 white nationalists,” said Jackie Jeter, president and business agent of Local 689.
For Jeter, it wasn’t just about the special protection given to Unite the Right. It was about the Metro system’s misleading statements about their plan.
“If they had told the truth about it, you wouldn’t see us out here now. We wouldn’t have anything to say. The fact that you lied and you were deceitful- the whole time they were planning, they were lying,” she said.