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NPS Gives OK for 'White Civil Rights' Rally in DC

Organizer Jason Kessler led the Charlottesville rally last year where Heather Heyer was killed
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 21, 2018 1:54 AM CDT
Unite the Right rally organizer Jason Kessler is escorted by police after his press conference was disrupted by protesters on Aug. 13, 2017, outside City Hall in Charlottesville, Va.   (Andrew Shurtleff /The Daily Progress via AP)
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(Newser) – Police in Washington, DC, are going to be busy on Aug. 11 and 12: The National Park Service has given initial approval for Jason Kessler, organizer of last year's deadly "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, to hold rallies to mark the anniversary of the Virginia event, WSET reports. The NPS has approved the follow-up rallies but hasn't issued a permit yet. In his application, Kessler asked to hold a "white civil rights" rally in Lafayette Square, across from the White House, the Washington Post reports. Charlottesville, where activist Heather Heyer was killed when a white supremacist rally participant drove into a crowd of counter-protesters, has refused to issue Kessler a permit for a rally there, citing public safety concerns.

In his application, Kessler estimated around 400 people will attend the event and said he would cooperate with law enforcement, reports Reuters. Kessler—who mocked Heyer a week after her death, then blamed Ambien—tells the Post that he's holding the rally because "white people are being denied the ability to organize in political organizations the way other groups do, free of harassment." Large numbers of counter-protesters are expected. "I am not surprised at him holding a rally away from Charlottesville, where he is not welcome," says Susan Bro, Heyer's mother. "It will be interesting to see how the citizens of DC and others respond to his rally." (Kessler has been banned from his alma mater for allegedly threatening students online.)

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