The Ku Klux Klan has been granted a permit by the National Park Service (NPS) to hold a rally at Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.
According to the BBC, the Maryland-based Confederate White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan plan on staging the event on the afternoon of Oct. 5 at the site of the infamous July 1863 Civil War battle that killed close to 50,000 soldiers on both sides.
The Associated Press said the KKK event will take place at an area just north of Gen. George Meade’s headquarters during the three-day conflict.
“The group requested the permit under the first amendment of the United States Constitution which grants all citizens the rights to freedom of speech,” the NPS said in a statement. “As custodians of land owned by the American people, the National Park Service has a responsibility to make that land available for exercising those rights.”
“Gettysburg NMP staff will be working to ensure that park resources and visitors will not be adversely affected by this event,” the NPS added. “Additional law enforcement agencies will assist the park to make certain that demonstrators, visitors and staff experience a safe atmosphere on the day of the event."
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The NPS added, “The National Park Service mission in preserving and protecting the historic resources at Gettysburg includes making them available to all Americans, even those whose views are contrary to the majority of the American public."
Richard Preston, imperial wizard of the Confederate White Knights, told the Evening Sun that his KKK group wants President Obama removed from office. “He's never proven his U.S. citizenship,” Preston said. “We're out for either his impeachment or proof that he isn't a U.S. citizen.”
Preston’s KKK group also wants stricter immigration laws. “This country is flooded with illegal immigrants who don't belong here,” he said. “We want our borders closed and for the federal government to spend more time on getting illegals out of our country and stop trying to police the world when we can't even police our own backyard."
Preston added, “We just want people to come hear what we have to say. It's never been about racism. We're not white supremacists, we're white separatists. This is about America for Americans. The only thing we want is our country back.”
As the Evening Sun reports, the KKK held a rally earlier this month at Antietam National Battlefield in Sharpsburg, Md., site of the bloody Battle of Antietam that killed more than 20,000 soldiers in a single day.
Naturally, news of the planned KKK rally at Gettysburg has sparked outrage among local residents. "To have the KKK come here is obnoxious,” Bill McCallister, whose great-great-great grandfather fought at Gettysburg, told Local21News.com. “To speak with as much emotion as I can get without swearing ... to me it's abhorrent they would come to this battlefield to do anything," McCallister said.
“There’s a limit and I think our forefathers thought there would be a limit,” Mcallister added. “And we’ve gone way beyond those bounds in my opinion.”