NPS releases the Ellipse next to White House on January 21st for permitted assembly, made available to the Women's March for closing activities
ANSWER Coalition issued January 20th Inauguration Day Permit to hold rally with stage and sound alongside Trump's Inaugural Parade route
We are pleased to tell you and all those who have been supporting the fight to defend free speech at the Inauguration that we have prevailed in this long, hard-fought battle to secure the Ellipse and other spaces in Washington, D.C. so that they are available for mass assembly gatherings and protest on January 20th and January 21st.
The National Park Service only relented in releasing permits for protest on public space after the PCJF made clear that we would be filing for a preliminary injunction to force the release of permits.
On Jan. 5, the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund notified the National Park Service that litigation was imminent and that permits, including for the Ellipse and other locations, had to be released immediately. We advised them that their withholding of space from the required permitting process, and their giving the Trump Presidential Inaugural Committee the discretion to hold these spaces and keep demonstrators from receiving permits, was in violation of the permanent injunction obtained by the PCJF and entered against the NPS in 2008 in federal court.
After being notified of imminent litigation, the NPS and the Trump PIC reversed course and the NPS issued a statement that they would release the Ellipse and other public spaces for permitted protests.
Permits are now being issued. The Ellipse is being made available to the Women's March, which will now have the opportunity to march into the Ellipse and hold its closing activities adjacent to the Trump White House on January 21st.
For Friday, January 20th, the ANSWER Coalition has been issued a permit for the Navy Memorial plaza space directly abutting the Inaugural Parade route and will set up a 28-foot-long stage and have a sound system. They will now be able to maintain a rally going throughout the day featuring nationally known leaders, grassroots activists and musicians. None of this could have happened without the issuance of a permit. Pacifica Network and other media will now be covering the rally and demonstration live from the Navy Memorial.
The release of these permits is a significant victory for free speech, and we continue to challenge the NPS's unconstitutional operation that is denying full and fair access to our public lands for protests at the Inauguration. It is shameful that the NPS stonewalled, and allowed the Trump PIC to stonewall, the ability of groups to obtain permits to exercise fundamental First Amendment rights until faced with legal action. The PCJF has been fighting for the issuance of these permits for months and we have been in court for more than 15 years challenging the efforts of the government to suppress dissent at the inauguration. Please help us continue this fight.
As the Trump era begins we are entering a period of extreme political turbulence. The agenda of the incoming Trump administration is to roll back or eviscerate fundamental civil, social, economic and political rights that the vast majority of the country holds dear. He plans to put this country's infrastructure, schools and environment up for sale to corporations, banks and hedge funds.
This is a time when grassroots political action, including the exercise of dissent and free speech, is of the gravest importance. The PCJF is committed to the efforts necessary to defend the right to stand up and speak out. Your support made this victory possible, and we hope we can count on you to do everything you can to strengthen this critical defense of the right to free speech. We can only do it together.