Charlottesville organiser gets permission for ‘anniversary’ event in Washington

Jason Kessler was organiser of last year’s white supremacist rally in which one was killed

Torch-bearing white nationalists rally around a statue of Thomas Jefferson near the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville last August. File photograph: Edu Bayer/The New York Times

Torch-bearing white nationalists rally around a statue of Thomas Jefferson near the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville last August. File photograph: Edu Bayer/The New York Times

 

The organiser of a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, which left an anti-fascist activist dead last summer, has been granted permission to hold an “anniversary” event in Washington in August.

Jason Kessler, who was behind the “Unite the Right” rally in August 2017 where white nationalists held a torchlight rally, clashed with protesters and caused a political furore when President Donald Trump blamed “both sides” for the violence, filed an application with the National Park Service (NPS) to hold a “white civil rights rally” outside the White House.

Mr Kessler had received initial approval from the NPS to hold the rally on Saturday August 11th and Sunday, August 12th, the Washington Post reported.

The weekend marks the anniversary of the Unite the the Right rally in Charlottesville, where Heather Heyer was killed when James Alex Fields jnr, a self-described Nazi, drove his car into a crowd of protesters.

In Mr Kessler’s application for a 2018 rally permit he said the purpose of the event was: “Protesting civil rights abuse in Charlottesville, VA/white civil rights rally.” He asked for permission to hold a rally at Lafayette Park, located in front of the White House, for 400 people.

In a section of the form asking if the applicant believed anyone might “seek to disrupt the activity”, Mr Kessler wrote: “Members of antifa affiliated groups will try to disrupt.”

The NPS told the WUSA-9 news channel it had approved Mr Kessler’s application, but was yet to issue a formal permit.

Last year’s Unite the Right was nominally intended to protest against the removal of a statue of Robert E Lee from Charlottesville’s Emancipation Park.

The event saw neo-Nazis and white supremacists march through the city holding torches and chanting “Jews will not replace us”, and the next day waving Confederate and Nazi flags and wearing far-right regalia at a demonstration in Emancipation Park. – Guardian