Officials deny permit for violent rally anniversary event

Casey Dawson
December 14, 2017

Charlottesville, Virginia, officials Monday denied a request to hold a rally in August marking the first anniversary of a protest by white supremacists that turned violent, saying it would endanger public safety.

Citing similar public safety constraints and insufficient police and financial resources, the city denied four other permit requests from opponents and supporters of Kessler to hold events in public parks on the anniversary weekend. Heinecke and Brian Lambert, an ally of Kessler's, submitted dueling applications to reserve Justice and McGuffey parks. Those were denied too. One woman died during the rally last August.

A large contingent of counter protestors, some violent and some peaceful, surrounded Emancipation Park on August 12, with approximately 2,500 people filling the streets of downtown Charlottesville that day. " The application also says the anniversary rally is meant to memorialize "the sacrifices made by political dissidents" at his rally earlier this year". Police then declared an unlawful assembly and forced the two sides back together, resulting in more violence.

Shortly after the crowd was broken up from Emancipation Park, a driver ran at speed into a knot of counter protestors at the downtown mall, seriously injuring several people and killing one.

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The violence that marked the rally worsened when James Alex Fields Jr., a 20-year-old Nazi sympathizer from OH, allegedly drove his Dodge Challenger into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing Heather Heyer, 32, and injuring 19 others.

The night before, white nationalists conducted a torch-lit marched through the University of Virginia campus and chanted "Jew will not replace us" and the Nazi slogan "Blood and soil".

"There is no person or legal entity willing to accept responsibility for the group's adherence" to the city laws, the manager, Maurice Jones, wrote. "The city was unable to protect the right of free expression and facilitate the permit holder's offensive speech", said the report.

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