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Judge Grants Injunction, Jason Kessler Can Have Unite the Right Rally at Emancipation Park

Posted: Updated: Aug 11, 2017 09:47 PM
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

Update 8:20 p.m. : A judge has granted a temporary injunction for Jason Kessler allowing him to have his Unite the Right rally in Emancipation Park.

The judge came down with a decision around 8 p.m. Friday.

A judge heard arguments Friday from attorneys requesting an emergency injunction stemming from a case against the city of Charlottesville and its decision to move the rally to McIntire Park, rather than at the planned Emancipation Park location.  

The Rutherford Institute and ACLU say the city's decision to move the rally out of downtown is against the organizer, Jason Kessler’s, free speech rights.

The civil rights groups argued the move violates Kessler's right to free speech, because the rally is meant to be a protest of the City Council's decision to remove the statue of confederate General Robert E. Lee from Emancipation Park.

Statement from ACLU:

The following statement may be attributed to ACLU-VA Executive Director Claire Guthrie Gastañaga with regard to tonight's favorable ruling by the U.S. District Court of Western Virginia in the case of Kessler v. Charlottesville:

"We are grateful that the court recognized that the First Amendment applies equally to everyone regardless of their views. We hope that the city will focus tomorrow on managing the expected crowds using de-escalation tactics and flexibility, and avoid the kind of over-militarized response that was mounted on July 8.

We encourage everyone participating to commit to non-violence and peaceful protest. We will be there to observe and document police practices as we were on July 8 and at other rallies and protests across Virginia since January and before."

Statement from Mayor Mike Signer:

City Statement on 8/12 Court Ruling

"While the City is disappointed by tonight's ruling we will abide by the judge's decision. The goal in moving the Unite the Right Rally from Emancipation Park to a larger, more accommodating space like McIntire Park had nothing to do with the content of the demonstrators' speech. The decision was made based on the projected number of demonstrators expected in our one acre park in downtown and the public safety needs of our community.

Chief Thomas, his team and the hundreds of law enforcement officials in our City will now turn their full attention to protecting the Downtown area during tomorrow's events."

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