Posted Dec. 20, 2007- A White supremacist group says it will take its “Jena Justice Day” parade and rally elsewhere if officials of the tiny Louisiana town don’t withdraw fees and a ban against firearms.
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The Nationalist Movement is hoping to descend upon the mostly White community of 3,000 people – the site of a Sept. 20 civil rights march that drew about 20,000 people in support of six Black teens accused of beating a White youth – on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
But, according to organization spokesman Barry Hackney, Jena is violating the Constitution by requiring organizers to post a security bond, asking participants to leave firearms at home and by altering the parade route by one block.
"When a group of, say, minorities or homosexuals want to have a parade, they aren't usually required to put up a bond or pay for police or pay for cleanup," Hackney, whose rally is a response to the “Jena Six” march, told The Associated Press. (Following the initial march, the Jena High students initially charged with attempted murder saw their charges later reduced to aggravated second-degree battery or second-degree battery.)
Jena Mayor Murphy McMillin said the bond imposed on the Nationalist Movement has been in place for "many, many years," noting that all seven of the organizations that participated in the September rally complied with all the guidelines.
Hackney said that his group’s concerns must be addressed by Jan. 21, or the march is off.
According to AP, among the goals of the Learned, Miss.-based Nationalist Movement is to help revoke integration at the University of Mississippi and to convince the campus to de-integrate the football team.
In mid-October, AP reports, an attorney for the Nationalists sent a letter to McMillin requesting that the town provide electricity for loudspeakers and electronic equipment, "adequate security," restroom facilities, access to drinking water, "adequate and secure parking" and no noise from hecklers.
In response, McMillin asked the group to “fill out the permit application and provide proof, as is required in the ordinance, of a $10,000 bond.”
He also pointed out that the “town does not have responsibility for and would not be providing restrooms, water, food, on-site emergency medical care or electricity.”
He suggested that Barrett do what the Rev. Al Sharpton and others did for the September rally and contact the LaSalle Parish Police Jury about those needs.
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