Jason Kessler, the extremist behind last year’s violent alt-right “Unite the Right” rally at which a counter-protester was killed, said that if he is denied a permit to host an anniversary event in Charlottesville, Virginia, this summer that activists will demonstrate outside of the White House instead.
Kessler applied for a permit to host another Unite the Right rally last year, but the city of Charlottesville denied his request, citing a “danger to public safety.” He is currently suing Charlottesville, arguing that the city is suppressing his First Amendment rights and is to blame for the violence that occurred at last year’s event. The University of Virginia has also banned Kessler from organizing on their campus.
Yesterday, Kessler appeared on the white nationalist podcast hosted by Jean Francois GariÃ©py to promote his follow-up rally and dismiss the fact that many of the alt-right figures who headlined last year’s event told Newsweek’s Michael Hayden that they did not plan to attend Kessler’s anniversary rally. Kessler went on to say that the violence at last year’s rally was “necessary because people had to be shaken out of this comfort that they were in” and that he hoped to transform the alt-right into a “white civil rights movement.”
He then told GariÃ©py that he has a backup plan if his lawsuit against Charlottesville fails.
“I do have a backup plan, for people who have been asking, and that is going to be in front of the White House. So, if Charlottesville denies our permit for any reason, it’s not safe, we’re going to get in vans and we’re going to go to Lafayette Park in front of the White House,” Kessler said.
Kessler said he anticipates a ruling in his lawsuit in July but in the meantime, people who wish to participate should book hotel rooms mid-way between Charlottesville and Washington.