As a federal judge recently noted in a ruling for “Unite the Right” organizer Jason Kessler, Charlottesville granted permits for counter-protesters too. During a fiery back and forth that drew heavy criticism, Trump wrongly claimed that only the white supremacists had the right to legally protest. That’s just not true.
Trump made mention of this false claim twice during his impromptu press conference at Trump Tower. He said:
You had a group, you had a group on the other side that came charging in without a permit and they were very, very violent….
But you had a lot of people in that group that were there to innocently protest — and very legally protest, because you know- I don’t know if you know, they had a permit. The other group didn’t have a permit.
Except that LawNewz has confirmed that two permits were granted for counter protesters in the city. According to records obtained by LawNewz, Walter Heinecke applied and was approved for two permits for his group, Peoples Action For Racial Justice.
“I did get the permits to protest at two adjacent parks,” he said in an interview with LawNewz.com. “Once again, who is the generator of fake news? The president is.”
Heinecke received approval to hold his events at two nearby parks, McGuffy and Justice. Kessler, the organizer of the rally, held a permit for Emancipation Park (formerly Robert E. Lee Park).
“I wish he (the president) would stop exacerbating racial discrimination in our country. If he doesn’t, my next permit will be for the White House and I’ll bring a million people,” Heinecke said.
According to the anti-racist group’s Facebook page, they hoped “to focus on lawful assembly in support of direct actions in protest of the “Unite the Right” rally in an effort to bring attention to the struggle to end white supremacy and all forms of discrimination, and to promote racial justice, racial inclusion, and equity.”
Organizer Walt Heinecke said in a press release, “White supremacy happens all the time, it is the rule not the exception. If the people of Charlottesville and the nation are waiting for the right moment to organize for a racially just and truly multicultural society, this is the moment to become focused. This is not about statues, it’s about statutes. ”
On top of that, counter protesters don’t need a permit to enter a public park to begin with.
“Please bear in mind that people do not need a permit to enter a public park, even when another event is scheduled to take place there, nor are they required to have one to be on streets or sidewalks adjacent to or outside the park,” Miriam Dickler, the Charlottesville communications director said in an email to LawNewz.com.
Update at 4:36: A quote was added from Walter Heinecke.