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News Violence

Charlottesville Hate Rally Leader Plans Another Rally—This Time Near the White House

Jackson Landers

Jason Kessler said he intends to hold rallies in both Charlottesville, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., on August 12, one year after a neo-Nazi allegedly drove a car into a group of anti-fascists, killing activist Heather Heyer.

The National Park Service (NPS) has received an application from a leading organizer of the Charlottesville white supremacist rally for a permit to hold an August “Unite the Right 2.0” rally in Lafayette Square in front of the White House.

The application, dated May 8, 2018, was submitted by Jason Kessler, the white supremacist organizer who organized the deadly August 2017 hate rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Kessler’s application for a permit to return to Emancipation Park in Charlottesville was denied by city officials. Kessler is challenging the denial in court, while fighting against a lawsuit brought by the city against Kessler and other white supremacist leaders and hate groups.

“If there is any problem with the permit or safety, including police stand down, our alternate location will be Lafayette Park at Washington DC in front of the White House,” Unite The Right organizers, likely Kessler, wrote in an online message to supporters.

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But in a June 5 Stormfront Action podcast, Kessler said he intends to hold rallies in both Charlottesville and Washington on August 12, one year after a neo-Nazi allegedly drove a car into a group of anti-fascists, killing activist Heather Heyer.

“We’re going to do Charlottesville in the early afternoon and then Washington, D.C., in the late afternoon or early evening,” Kessler said during the podcast. “The permit is already deemed approved in Washington, D.C.”

Jenny Anzelmo-Sarles, a National Park Service communications specialist, “NPS has received a permit application … and it’s under review.” Anzelmo-Sarles provided a copy of the permit application to Rewire.News.

The application estimates that 400 people will attend the white supremacist rally near the White House. It indicates that several generators will be used to power a sound system, a stage will be utilized, and one portable restroom will be provided. Kessler has requested use of the park from 8 a.m. August 11 until 8 p.m. August 12, a total of 36 hours, in spite of the instructions for a late afternoon D.C. rally he has publicly given to his followers.

Under a section of the application asking the purpose of the event, Kessler wrote, “protesting civil rights abuse in Charlottesville VA/white civil rights rally.”

Obtaining a permit for an event on National Park Service property in D.C. often requires notice far in advance. Rosina Teri Memolo, a cannabis activist, said that in her experience, it can take a year of work to get a permit.

“When I have worked with NPS for an event/protest on monument grounds, we request a permit a year in advance to be the first to request an area,” Memolo told Rewire.News, “and they don’t usually issue permit until about two weeks before the event.”

Kessler said during the June 5 Stormfront Action podcast that “our group of demonstrators is going to have so much more disciplined this time,” emphasizing that the white supremacists and neo-nazis must “remain nonviolent.” Kessler previewed the D.C. rally by mentioning its location near the White House, and a nearby statue of Andrew Jackson. 

On the podcast, he blamed Charlottesville violence on anti-fascist protesters. “We won’t let them portray us as the aggressors.”

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