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A “white civil rights rally” has been approved to take place outside the White House in August, marking the first anniversary of a Charlottesville, VA rally where a woman was killed last year.
Jason Kessler, who organized the “Unite the Right” rally last year to protest the removal of Confederate statues, filed the application with the National Park Service (NPS) last month.
Kessler had also requested permission to hold the rally in Charlottesville, but was denied access, according to The Washington Post. He is suing the city for denying his First Amendment Rights.
The NPS website says its resources are for “the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations.”
The rally last year turned violent and led to the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer who was present as a counter-protester at the rally.
Incidents including a group of white supremacists recorded beating up a black man contributed to the rally being called an incident of domestic terrorism by politicians and officials. A 220-page independent report found that the city failed to protect public safety, and that mistakes made by law enforcement and city officials led to the violence, according to NPR.
Kessler told WUSA9 that the violence wasn’t his group’s fault, and this year his team has a “new purpose.”
“That’s to talk about the civil rights abuse that happened in Charlottesville, Virginia last year,” he told WUSA9.
He said his group was victimized last year and, in his application form to NPS, noted that they’re expecting potential resistance from Antifa-related groups who “will try to disrupt.”
This year, Kessler expects to have 400 protesters at the rally at Lafayette Square, opposite the White House.
[Photo: “Unite the Right” rally protestors with tiki torches in Charlottesville the night before “Unite the Right” rally in August last year. By Zach D Roberts/NurPhoto via Getty Images]