Potential White Supremacist Rally Aligns with Otakon Weekend in DC
posted on by Lynzee Loveridge
Note: Originally this article stated the rally was approximately two miles away, matching Otakon's statement, Lafayette Square is approximately one mile away from the Walter E. Washington Convention Center by foot or car. This article is updated to reflect that.
The organizers of last year's Unite the Right White supremacist rally in Charlotteville —an event that turned deadly after James Alex Fields Jr. allegedly drove his car into a group of counter-protesters and ran over 32-year-old Heather Heyer with his vehicle— submitted a request with the National Park Service (NPS) to hold a one year anniversary rally near the White House on August 11 and 12. The request has received initial approval by the Park Service and will place the rally approximately one mile away from Otakon.
Unite the Right organizer Jason Kessler submitted the application on May 8 and expects approximately 400 White nationalists to descend on Lafayette Square Park to host a "white civil rights" rally. The application's initial approval means that the date and location aren't currently booked by another party. NPS is required to be "content neutral" when approving applications, according to NPS spokesperson Mike Litterst.
Otakon organizers are aware of the rally coinciding with the convention. Staff wrote on Otakon's Twitter account:
To all of our fans and Members: We would like you to know that Otakon is aware of the proposed rally which would take place 2.1 miles from our event, and the concerns raised by our members. We are carefully monitoring the situation as it develops.
Although the rally is initially approved, NPS will still review the application with U.S. Park Police, D.C. police, and the Secret Service, while gathering further information from Kessler and Unite the Right organizers.The application still is not officially approved or denied.
Otakon takes place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington D.C. Last year, the convention brought in 24,894 attendees for its first convention in Washington D.C. after previously taking place in Baltimore.
Source: NBC 4 Washington (Cordilia James)
this article has been modified since it was originally posted; see change history