Charlottesville rally organizer withdraws petition to hold anniversary event in Virginia
The organizer behind last year’s deadly Charlottesville rally has withdrawn his petition to hold a “Unite the Right” anniversary event next month.
Jason Kessler withdrew his petition Tuesday after the city of Charlottesville denied his request to hold a rally on Aug. 11 and Aug. 12, according to local news outlet WCAV.
Last year’s “Unite the Right” rally, which was coordinated and attended by hundreds of white nationalists and neo-Nazis, turned violent and left one counter-protestor dead after a man with ties to white supremacist groups drove into a crowd of counter-protestors, injuring 19 and killing Charlottesville resident Heather Heyer.
Though there will not be a second “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Kessler received a permit in June to host a similar rally in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 11 and Aug. 12.
Kessler reportedly wrote in his Washington application that he expects 400 attendees, as well as counter-protestors.
“This year we have a new purpose,” he said. “And that’s to talk about the civil rights abuse that happened in Charlottesville, Virginia last year.”
President Trump sparked bipartisan backlash last year when he appeared to draw a moral equivalence between the neo-Nazis who planned the rally and the counter-protestors. Trump said there was blame “on both sides.”
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen last week echoed Trump’s comments, saying “it’s not that one side is right and one side is wrong.”
Two men, one of whom is a white nationalist, have been convicted for violently attacking a black man in a parking garage during last year’s rally.
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