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August 8, 2017

Today the ACLU of Virginia and the Rutherford Institute sent a letter to Charlottesville City Council asking them to reverse their decision to move the “Unite the Right” demonstration planned for Emancipation Park this Saturday to another, larger park a mile away from the statue that was to be the focus of the demonstration.  Citing a number of serious First Amendment concerns, the letter concluded:

“The City must act in accordance with the law, even if doing so is distasteful to members of the community who disagree with the views espoused by the “Unite the Right” organizers. At the very least, the City must explain in more than just generalities its reasons for concluding that the demonstration cannot safely be held in Emancipation Park. It must allow the organizers the opportunity to dispel fears or concerns about the rally. Otherwise, it appears that the City’s revocation of the permit is based only upon public opposition to the message of the demonstration, which would constitute a violation of the organizers’ fundamental First Amendment rights.

As organizations committed to protecting constitutional and civil rights, we demand that the City withdraw its letter to Jason Kessler of August 7, 2017, revoking and otherwise rescinding the permit for a demonstration in Emancipation Park on August 12, 2017, and provide assurances that the City will allow the “Unite the Right” demonstration as previously planned and approved by operation of law.”

The organizations asked for a response to the letter by noon on August 9, 2017.

You can read the joint letter in the attached document below.