*This is a developing story.
In a post to his blog site yesterday, white supremacist Jason Kessler announced that he has submitted paperwork to hold a demonstration one year to the day after last August’s disastrous Unite the Right rally, which ended in one person being killed in a terrorist attack. Kessler, in his announcement, railed against the local government of Charlottesville and anti-fascist groups, stating, “First, let me explain why I’m doing this,” concluding with, “I simply will not allow these bastards to use the one-year anniversary of the Charlottesville government violating a federal judge’s order and the US Constitution, in conjunction with violent Antifa groups, to further demonize activists.”
Kessler has been a white nationalist, supremacist, and alt-right provocateur for some time, but gained national and international notoriety by planning Unite the Right, the largest gathering of hate groups in the US in decades. The rally, which gathered around 1,000 individuals representing a wide range of ideological hate organizations and militias, was met on the streets by a greater number of counter-protesters who demonstrated against these groups, which were parading openly through the streets of the sleepy mountain town. The rally eventually ended in a vicious assault on an African American man, DeAndre Harris, and the murder of counter-protester Heather Heyer by white supremacist James Alex Fields Jr in a vehicular terrorist attack that also wounded up to 30 people.
It is unclear if this event will get the go-ahead, given that the organizers of Unite the Right are currently facing a series of lawsuits in both state and federal courts. Kessler himself is facing a three million dollar wrongful death lawsuit for the murder of Heather Heyer. Nonetheless, in his announcement, he blames the entirety of what went wrong at Unite the Right on the security preparations of the Charlottesville Police Department in an effort “to ENABLE the Antifa to attack us while claiming that WE actually screwed things up by not following the security plan.” Blaming anti-fascists, anti-racists, and counter-protesters for the violence of Unite the Right has been a staple of white supremacist, nationalist, and alt-right rationale for why the rally turned violent, contrary to all visible evidence.
The permit states that the event’s purpose is to rally against government abuse of civil rights and changes to Emancipation Park, which is in reference to the planned removal of a statue commemorating Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The removal of the statue is what set off a summer of white nationalist and supremacist rallies in Charlottesville, which also included a demonstration by the Ku Klux Klan in July. Speaking to NBC 29, Charlottesville City Councilwoman Kristin Szakos went on record saying, “Well I don’t know what’s wrong with someone who has an event in which three people are killed by the people they’ve invited. And they want to try it again? He’s got a lot of nerve.”