Organizers of a “Demand Free Speech” rally planned for Saturday in Washington, D.C., told the National Park Service that they expect up to 1,000 participants—but wrote that there “could be more or less”—to attend their demonstration. Given the fact that, per the sponsoring group’s permit application, they’ve rented only one toilet, perhaps they’re banking on the “less.”
A copy of an event permit application the National Park Service provided to The Daily Beast shows event organizers’ stated plans for the rally, which is expected to attract members of the Proud Boys, identified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and followers of far-right personalities including Milo Yiannopoulos, Laura Loomer, and Gavin McInnes, who have been removed from social media platforms for violating community guidelines. The Daily Beast’s Will Sommer reports that the application has been approved and that counter-protesters plan to rally across the street from Freedom Plaza.
Event organizers told NPS in their application that they will assemble an event space with 10 chairs, five tables, one tent, and just one portable restroom. Organizers stated they will have space for 50 camera tripods but will not assemble a press riser. They are expecting one bus and 22 speakers, and wrote on the permit that “no marches or parades” will happen during the event.
In a section stating expected disruptions to the event, event organizers wrote “Antifa” and “All Out DC,” which is a coalition of groups organizing to oppose their rally on Saturday. Rally organizers state that they will have 50 event marshals providing “protection and security” at the event who will wear “red stop hate hats.” Those marshals, organizers state, will use 20 handheld radios and 10 bullhorns at the event.
Sommer reported in his Right Richter newsletter that some announced speakers for the rally have started to pull out of the event. Organizers sold tickets to a VIP event after the rally, but were booted from at least one venue they sought to secure.
Tensions around right-wing organizing have swelled since Quillette writer Andy Ngo was injured [by antifascist activists last weekend in Portland, Oregon.