National Park Service issues permits for over 15,000 to attend pro-Trump D.C. rallies

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The National Park Service on Friday approved two permits for more than 15,000 people to attend pro-Trump rallies in D.C. this weekend.

The March for Trump and the Million MAGA March, both of which attracted thousands of participants last month, are returning at noon on Saturday.

Conservative group Women for America First is hosting the March for Trump where up to 15,000 attendees will be allowed to hear from more than 20 speakers before marching to the U.S. Supreme Court, according to the permit. Organizers have been granted use of the space from Friday at noon until Saturday at 4 p.m.

Participants are scheduled to hear speeches from South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, Georgia Rep. Vernon Jones, retired Gen. Mike Flynn, Virginia Congressman-elect Bob Good and North Carolina Congressman-elect Madison Cawthorn.

The Million MAGA March permit request was submitted by a person named Alex Stovall, who is allowed to gather up to 500 people at the Sylvan Theater and “related turf” from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday.

Although the “permit does not authorize a march,” the group’s Facebook page host posted that speakers will begin at 11 a.m. and “[o]nce concluded, we will march to Freedom Plaza, then to the United States Capitol.”

The event website shows more than 15 people are scheduled to speak, including former Rep. Greg Hughes, Utah Republican.

During the Nov. 14 rallies, tensions between pro- and anti-Trump protesters were apparent. Metropolitan Police Chief Peter Newsham said the afternoon demonstrations were largely peaceful, but violence among counterprotesters erupted at night.

Numerous activist groups are planning counter protests throughout the weekend “to defend marginalized communities and protect the newly-memorialized Black Lives Matter Plaza from right wing attack,” according to a press release from Defend D.C.

The activist coalition’s website accuses Trump supporters and the Proud Boys of “destroying community artwork and memorials and starting fights with locals” during the rallies last month.

On Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. the “All out against fascism” rally will “provide a counterpoint to right wing rallies being held in the afternoon in Freedom Plaza, about five blocks away,” the press release states.

Some of the other groups behind the rallies include: Black Lives Matter D.C., Femme Anarcho Abolitionist Network, Frederick Socialists, They/Them Collective and Shutdown D.C., according to the website.

The Metropolitan Police Department has announced numerous nearby street closures and no-parking areas that go into effect at different times Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

“MPD will have an increased presence downtown where the traffic closures are in place,” Kristen Metzger, deputy director of communications, said Wednesday in an email. “As with all First Amendment demonstrations, MPD will be monitoring and assessing the activities this weekend and planning accordingly with our federal law enforcement partners.”

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