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Neo-Nazi rally will not be permitted, nor will be any other events for April

A neo-Nazi rally will not be permitted, nor will be any other events for April, as result of COVID-19.

Mayor Derek Slaughter said Thursday any event that had a permit in April will be postponed or cancelled, including the National Socialist Movement rally in Brandon Park.

He said he was not certain if the group would reapply for a permit beyond April.

“At this time, we don’t know which events will be canceled or postponed,” he said. “Beyond that, we are not sure.”

The neo-Nazi rally was opposed by Jewish groups, including Clifford A. Rieders, an attorney who argued the mayor should have not permitted the group a permit.

The First Amendment does not guarantee the right to violence and but only peaceful assembly, Rieders said. The city solicitors okayed the permit because the group volunteered to remain non-agressive and not harm anybody, said Norman Lubin, city solicitor.

The permit restriction for April also affects “Dare to be Different,” a counter-rally of peace and unity that was supposed to be held at Bowman Field on the same day as the neo-Nazi rally, Slaughter said.

Other efforts to control spreading the virus are in place in the city.

No more than 50 individuals are permitted to gather for any public event, a regulation the city acknowledged does not apply to the Williamsport Area School District.

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