Officials in Gettysburg are bracing for protests this weekend coinciding with the 154th anniversary of the Civil War battle.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans and a group called Real 3% Risen have received special use permits for 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday in a special section north of Meade’s Headquarters.
“We make accommodations for people who want to exercise their First Amendment rights,” said Katie Lawhon, a spokeswoman for Gettysburg National Military Park.
Officials also are aware of plans for other rallies that have been announced on social media but have not obtained permits, and there are unconfirmed reports that anarchists plan to burn Confederate flags and desecrate graves during the anniversary of the battle.
Lawhon said the park is working with the U.S. Park Police, the Pennsylvania State Police, and local law enforcement to keep order during the weekend.
“Our goal is to ensure that public safety and visitor safety is number one and that park resources are preserved,” she said.
Besides the two permitted protests, Civil War reenactors from the Maryland Sons of Confederate Veterans also received a permit for a “site specific” march starting at 10 a.m. from the North Carolina Memorial to the Veterans Memorial, where they will hold a ceremony, Lawhon said. Another popular private reenactment festival is also scheduled about two miles from the park, she said.
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