Charlottesville rally organizer plans ‘white civil rights’ march near White House

An organizer of a white supremacist rally last year in Charlottesville, Va., where one woman died plans to hold a march across the street from the White House on the rally’s anniversary in August, federal officials said on Thursday.

The National Park Service has approved an application for a permit from the organizer, Jason Kessler, for an event on Aug. 11 and 12 that he described as a “white civil rights rally” for 400 people at Lafayette Park in Washington. Kessler submitted the permit request May 8, and it was granted the next day, but he has not yet received final approval because the Park Service has asked for additional logistical details about the rally, a spokesman said.


“The process itself is no different from anything else,” Mike Litterst, a spokesman for the National Park Service, said in an interview Thursday. “The Park Service is content neutral when it comes to these sort of decisions.”

Kessler was one of several white nationalists who organized the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville last August, which drew hundreds of neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klansmen, and others, and quickly turned violent.

On the night of Aug. 11, they marched through the University of Virginia campus, brandishing torches and shouting anti-Semitic chants. The next day, they clashed with counterprotesters in the streets of Charlottesville in a confrontation that ultimately led to the death of Heather D. Heyer, 32, a counterprotester who was killed when a man drove into a crowd.