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White nationalist group does not yet have National Park Service permit for DC protest

Charlottesville and rise of white supremacists

As Washington, D.C. braces for a white nationalist demonstration on the National Mall this weekend, as of Friday morning, one of the movement's main organizers still did not have a permit.

"Unite the Right 2" organizer Jason Kessler filed paperwork with the National Park Service in May, and while his group has been approved for its protest, the Park Service has not yet issued Kessler the permit necessary for the Sunday rally because it is still reviewing the details of the demonstration. It's likely that Kessler will receive the permit within a day or two before the protest.

Kessler applied for a permit allowing 400 people to demonstrate in Lafayette Park, just across from the White House grounds, WUSA noted, "to protest civil rights abuse in Charlottesville Va / white civil rights rally."

The rally falls on the one-year anniversary of the violent clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia that left one woman dead and dozens of others badly injured. The violent demonstrations sparked nationwide debate over race relations in the United States. Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and the city of Charlottesville have already declared a state of emergency ahead of the weekend's commemoration out of concern of a repeat of last year's incidents. 

Kessler had filed suit against Charlottesville over its refusal to grant him a similar permit for another event. Kessler agreed to drop the suit last week after withdrawing his request for a court order allowing him to stage a rally on the anniversary of the protests there. 

According to the rally's website, demonstrators will be traveling from Virginia to Washington where they are expected to march along Pennsylvania Avenue just outside the White House. Several groups of counter-protesters are expected to confront the white nationalists, but rally organizers advise participants to "not react with anger to anyone." 

Unlike last year's event, organizers now warn demonstrators not to bring items like guns, pepper spray, shields, non-approved flags or knives to the rally. 

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