Charlottesville denies permit for 'Unite the Right' anniversary rally

Image of Jason Kessler's press conference the day after the deadly 'Unite the Right' rally |...
Image of Jason Kessler's press conference the day after the deadly 'Unite the Right' rally | WHSV file video(WHSV)
Published: Nov. 29, 2017 at 5:02 PM EST
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UPDATE (Dec. 11):

The City of Charlottesville has denied several requests for permits for events next August.

Jason Kessler, the man who organized the 'Unite the Right' rally that ended with the death of Heather Heyer and two state troopers, had filed a request to hold a 'Back to Charlottesville' rally on the one-year anniversary.

Several other groups also filed requests to hold rallies on the same day.

All of the permits have been denied after deliberation by Charlottesville City Council.

According to the city, the event would pose a danger to public safety and cannot be accommodated in the location requested. There is also a concern about allocating funds and police resources.

The denial also says the city does not allow Emancipation Park to be used before 1 p.m. on any Sunday.

The third reason given for the denial of the permit is that no person, or entity, is authorized to sign the application for a permit on behalf of a group if there is no person or entity willing to accept responsibility for the group's adherence to the limitations in city event regulations.


The man who organized the 'Unite the Right' rally that ended in deadly violence in Charlottesville is seeking a permit for a similar event in the summer of 2018.

Jason Kessler publicly posted to Twitter (

), saying "Everybody get ready cause we're doing another rally August 11-12th 2018."

He linked to his website, where he posted a scanned image of an application to Charlottesville for a rally in Emancipation Park on Aug. 12.

In his post, Kessler blames the City of Charlottesville and the Charlottesville Police Department for the violence this year, saying "They did it to ENABLE the Antifa to attack us while claiming that WE actually screwed things up by not following the security plan."

An independent review of the rally has found that on August 12, white nationalists and counterprotesters converged at an intersection that remained unblocked by barriers or police tape. Officers largely stood and watched as people threw punches, beat each other with clubs, set off smoke bombs and unleashed chemical spray.

Governor Terry McAuliffe and other officials defended the response, saying police had to show restraint because the crowd was heavily armed.

A consultant hired by the state to review the day's events, however, issued a preliminary report that said the city "placed minimal/no restrictions on the demonstrators." It also found that many recommendations the state made to the city ahead of the event "were not accepted." You can learn more about the impact of those recommendations and tactics


The new application to the city indicates Kessler expects 400 people to participate.

The City of Charlottesville confirmed to WHSV that they have received Kessler's application, but would not elaborate on how they plan to respond.

Emancipation Park is the former Lee Park, but

in the months after the city voted to remove statues of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.

It was also the site where the Unite the Right rally was planned, although the crowds on that day, including people chanting Nazi slogans, quickly took on a much larger scope through the city.

At the rally on Aug. 12,

was killed when a car ran into a group of people protesting the rally. At least 19 others were injured during clashes.