separatist group planning a Martin Luther King Jr. Day
parade in Jena, La., is suing the town, claiming
officials are violating the Constitution by asking
participants not to bring firearms, changing the
parade route by one block, and requiring the posting of a
Movement filed the federal lawsuit December 14 and is
seeking a temporary restraining order to keep the town from
interfering with the Learned, Miss.-based group's Jena
Justice Day rally. Group officials claim the town's
rules violate their 14th Amendment rights to due
January 21 march is in response to the thousands who rallied
on September 20 in Jena in support of six black teens who
have become known as the ''Jena 6'' and against what
they claimed was disproportionately harsh treatment of
blacks by prosecutors.
The Jena High
students were initially charged with attempted murder in
connection with a December 4, 2006, attack on a white
student. All charges were later reduced to aggravated
second-degree battery or second-degree battery.
''When a group
of, say, minorities or homosexuals want to have a parade,
they aren't usually required to put up a bond or pay for
police or pay for cleanup,'' said Barry Hackney, a
spokesman for the organization.
Mayor Murphy McMillin said, has been in place for ''many,
many years.'' All seven of the organizations that
participated in the September rally complied with all
the guidelines, town officials said.
There were no
reports of arrests or vandalism after more than 20,000
rallied in support of the Jena 6.
Hackney said the
Nationalist Movement will not come to Jena if their
concerns are not resolved by January 21.
attorney for Jena, said the community would follow the
laws and let due process work.
Movement has among its missions revoking integration at
the University of Mississippi, and it has called on its
football coach to de-integrate the team.
In an October 15
letter to McMillin, Richard Barrett, an attorney for the
Nationalists, asks the town for electricity for loudspeakers
and electronic equipment, ''adequate security,''
restroom facilities, access to drinking water,
''adequate and secure parking,'' and no noise from
November 27 response to Barrett's requests, he asked
Barrett to fill out the permit application and provide
proof, as is required in the ordinance, of a $10,000
bond. He also pointed out that the town doesn't have
responsibility for and wouldn't be providing
restrooms, water, food, on-site emergency medical care, or
these services were provided by the parish for the
September rally, and he encouraged Barrett to contact the
LaSalle Parish Police Jury about those needs.
say Jena's rules governing public demonstrations are
invalid and unconstitutionally over-broad.
Movement successfully sued York, Pa., over fees the city
tried to charge it for a rally the group held in 2003. That
rally drew five members of the movement. (AP)