The GOP—including a Black Republican organization—plans to hold “a First Amendment demonstration” during convention week in the same park where law enforcement rousted Black Lives Matter protesters to clear the way for a President Donald Trump photo-op in June.
The Daily Beast obtained a permit application that the Maryland GOP submitted Thursday afternoon for three gatherings of 10,000 people on National Parks Service property, which the state Republican Party said it would run in conjunction with the Maryland Black Republican Council.
The trio of events, described in the paperwork as sign-waving celebrations of the First Amendment, would occur on Tuesday morning and afternoon, and from 11:30 p.m. until midnight Thursday—coinciding with the end of Trump’s speech and the close of convention festivities.
The three requested locations are the White House sidewalk, Freedom Plaza, and Lafayette Square, all close to the president’s residence. The last park may carry a particular symbolism, as it was home to an encampment of anti-racism protesters who gathered there in late May in the aftermath of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
On June 1, Trump made a speech demanding mass arrests in response to the widespread public disorder—then proceeded to march from the White House to St. John’s Episcopal Church behind a phalanx of Secret Service and federal police.
The agents and officers aggressively pushed the protesters out of Lafayette Square, using what the activists and news reports described as tear gas but which the authorities insisted was a kind of pepper spray.
The Maryland GOP did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The planned demonstration marks just the latest GOP plan to use federal property for convention affairs. Vice President Mike Pence will speak Wednesday evening from Fort McHenry in Baltimore, permits are pending for a fireworks show at the Washington Monument on Thursday night, and Trump plans to deliver his acceptance address from the White House itself.
The Republican summit follows close after the Democratic National Committee, which wrapped Thursday night. Officially centered in Milwaukee, most politicians delivered speeches remotely from their home state due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Former Vice President Joe Biden accepted the party’s nomination with an oration at the Chase Center on the Riverfront in Wilmington, Delaware.