Park Service issues permit for counterprotest to 'Unite the Right' rally

Park Service issues permit for counterprotest to 'Unite the Right' rally
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The National Park Service (NPS) on Wednesday issued the first permit to a group of protesters who will be countering the white nationalist "Unite the Right" rally in Washington, D.C., this weekend.

The permit is for D.C. United Against Hate, a coalition of 18 groups including Black Lives Matter and Shut It Down D.C. that plan to “protest against the white pride march,” according to the permit.

But NPS has still not issued a permit for the “white civil rights” rally that is being organized by Jason Kessler.

Kessler is one of the far-right figures behind the “Unite The Right” rally that turned deadly in Charlottesville, Va., last year. Those groups are planning a rally in Lafayette Park near the White House to commemorate the anniversary of the Charlottesville protests.

Hundreds are expected to attend the Unite the Right rally, with the counterprotests expected to draw a much larger crowd.

The NPS approved an initial application for the rally, as well as two other counterprotests for which final permits have also not been issued.

Correspondence between the NPS and Kessler show that details for a public safety plan are still being worked out among different law enforcement agencies, which include the U.S. Park Police and the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department.

“In approving the request of Jason Kessler to hold his rally in Lafayette Park, the National Park Service is neither condoning nor condemning the message being delivered by him,” NPS spokesperson Michael Litterst said in a statement. “We do not consider the content of the message presented in the permitting process.”

The website for Shut It Down invites all “anti-fascists and people of good conscience” to participate in the counterprotest.

“This is for Heather Heyer, Corey Long, Deandre Harris, ICE abolition, open borders, dismantling the prison industrial complex, and ending the settler colonial system. We will confront fascism, antisemitism, islamophobia, white supremacy, and state violence on August 10-12,” the website reads.

Heyer was killed when a car was driven into a crowd of counterprotesters in Charlottesville.