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Members of the white-supremacist group Aryan Nations plan to march on the U.S. Capitol on Saturday, ostensibly to protest the treatment of white farmers in South Africa. But if history is any predictor, the rally has a good chance of fizzling. Ever since the Ku Klux Klan organized around 35,000 marchers in 1925, it’s been downhill for white-power groups hoping to pull off a spectacle in Washington.
Nov. 28, 1982: After a 57-year break from protesting in Washington, the KKK returns to the Capitol. Organizers set the bar low and predict 200 members will march. Thirty-six show up. When a KKK spokesman mentions the threat of “illegal aliens,” according to the New York Times, one reporter asks if he means E.T.
Sept. 2, 1990: The Knights of Freedom Nationalist Party, a KKK group from South Carolina, attempt to walk down Constitution Avenue. The 44-person march gets stuck at the Capitol, however, after counterprotesters block their path.
Oct. 28, 1990: The Knights of Freedom Nationalist Party are back, and, after a legal fight with then-Mayor Marion Barry’s administration, win a permit. Only 27 people show up, but the Klan does get D.C. to pay its $62,000 legal bill to the ACLU.
August 7, 1999: A long-planned march by a neo-Nazi group ends up attracting just four members—not counting the group’s leader, who doesn’t’ show up. His mother tells the Washington Post: “I don’t like to say that about my own son, but he is a chicken.”
April 19, 2008: White-power groups just love Constitution Avenue. A march by Michigan neo-Nazis attracts hundreds of cops…and 35 neo-Nazis.
Photos courtesy Library of Congress