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The National Park Service granted a request by the Ku Klux Klan to rally and protest near the spot where a failed offensive by the Confederacy turned the tide of the Battle of Gettysburg.
Gordon Young of the World Knights of the Ku Klux Klan obtained the permit Wednesday for about 100 people to participate in a Sept. 2 event on the lawn of the Cyclorama Center at Gettysburg National Military Park, near the site of Pickett's Charge. The purpose, according to the permit, will be to oppose the Iraq war and speak on "white unity between the North and South."
The permit was granted in light of the constitutional rights of free speech and peaceable assembly, Gettysburg park superintendent John A. Latschar said in a statement yesterday. About 30 members of Young's group and other white-supremacist organizations gathered June 10 at Antietam National Battlefield in Sharpsburg, Md. About 30 counterdemonstrators and about 200 law enforcement officers were there, too.
The Battle of Gettysburg, which repelled a Confederate advance into Pennsylvania in July 1863, was the largest and bloodiest battle of the Civil War. More than 51,000 combatants disappeared or were killed, wounded or captured.