The District spent $86,666 per attendee of this past Sunday’s Unite the Right 2 rally, according to preliminary numbers provided to Washingtonian by the DC’s mayor’s office. The figure factors the total dollar amount the city spent ($2.6 million) divided by the minute number of protestors who showed up (let’s be generous and say 30). The total bill accounted for hours of road closures and thousands of law enforcement officers for a small gathering of white nationalists—an offset that’s caused quite a stir in the event’s aftermath.
The money came from the federally funded Emergency Planning and Security Fund, which reimburses DC agencies for costs that relate to the city being the nation’s capital.
Of course, those resources were as much for the protection of counter protestors and residents as they were for Jason Kessler and his gang. Yet the spectacle of thirty-or-so-haircuts receiving a police escort from Foggy Bottom Metro to Lafayette Square has got a lot of people riled up.
Others have credited DC’s hefty allocation as a safety-focused response to an event that received lots of media coverage in the weeks preceding the rally. Counter-protest groups formed the “Shut It Down D.C. coalition” and amassed supporters throughout the DMV area by the thousands hours before UTR was scheduled to set foot in the District.