METRO: Not preparing “special train” for Unite the Right group
WASHINGTON, D.C. – UPDATE: Metro says they are not preparing a “special train” for the private use of any group.
ATU Local 689 originally said they received reports that Metro would provide three private Metrorail cars and police escort to a white supremacist group for the upcoming “Unite the Right” rally.
Metro says they are working closely with law enforcement to prepare security options that place the highest priority on protecting Metro passengers, employees, and public safety. They say they are giving special consideration to the security challenges posed by railcar space constraints.
Metro Transit Police are working closely with DC Metropolitan Police, which is the lead law enforcement agency for the events, as well as Virginia State Police, Fairfax County Police, the U.S. Secret Service and others.
For more information on service for August 11 and 12, click here.
Metro will provide three private Metrorail cars and police escort to a white supremacist group for the upcoming “Unite the Right” rally, according to information shared with ATU Local 689, Metro’s second largest union.
Participants in the rally will be marching through the streets of D.C. to Lafayette Park on August 11, a year after the deadly Charlottesville rally.
Members of the union have informed to follow safety protocol if they come in contact with the group.
“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,” says ATU Local 689 President Jackie Jeter, whose membership operate the trains and buses of the Metro system. “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 Mr. Wiedefeld to make these unprecedented special accommodations for a hate group.”
The union says more than 80% of their membership are people of color, which Local 689 says have been harassed by white nationalist groups.
A spokesperson for Metro told DCW50:
“As we do for all events of this nature, Metro is working collaboratively with law enforcement to ensure safe travel for our customers and employees. Transit Police are engaged in ongoing discussions with MPD, the lead agency for the Aug 12 event, as well as Virginia State Police and others as to how to keep everyone safe on that day. While details of the plan are security sensitive at this stage, I can tell you that it has *not* been finalized. It is unlikely we will have more to say on this until Chief Newsham is ready to brief the media.”