09 28 2016
  6:40 pm  
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JENA, La. (AP) -- The Nationalist Movement, which describes itself as "pro-majority," will hold a rally in Jena, La., on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the group announced.
The organization issued a statement this week saying "Jena Justice Day to Empower the Majority" would be held on Jan. 21, 2008, the day set aside to celebrate the birthday of the slain American civil rights leader.
The statement said the Nationalists were "bringing their tools for empowerment to Louisiana to defeat the demands of Al Sharpton." The events planned include a two-mile parade, speeches, ceremonies and petitions "as a centerpiece to abolish King Day."
The announcement of the event follows a massive rally held in Jena on Sept. 20 in support of six Black teenagers arrested in December 2006 and charged with attacking Justin Barker, a White classmate at Jena High School, and knocking him unconscious.
The case fueled allegations that District Attorney Reed Walters was treating Blacks more harshly than Whites, because his office didn't file charges against three white teens accused of hanging nooses in a tree on the high school's campus shortly before the attack on Barker.
The Nationalist Movement describes the event as `No to Jena 6, No to King.' They also will petition for abolition of the Civil Rights Bill and give a "voice to the voiceless," the release stated.
The Rev. B.L. Moran, who has worked with the "Jena Six" families, said they wouldn't try to stop the event but may plan something around that time.
"Of course we can't stop them from marching," he said. "They can do whatever they want. It is bothersome, but everybody has their freedom to do whatever they want."
Moran said there are normally events planned in support of unity on that day -- not division.
Jena Mayor Murphy McMillin said Friday that the town had received information about the January event but that no application for a permit had yet been made and no permit yet issued.
"Here in Jena, we are very careful to abide by the Constitution of the United States," he said. "So we will do the appropriate thing to keep with that document."
Permits were granted by the town for the Sept. 20 rally, although that was the first of the pro-Jena Six rallies at the LaSalle Parish Courthouse where a permit was sought. There has been a policy in place in the town since 1992 asking for permit applications before any kind of demonstration.
Messages left Saturday on the answering machine of the Nationalist Movement headquarters in Learned, Miss., were not returned.

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