Gov. Nikki Haley: Secessionist gathering should be permitted

Gov. Nikki Haley: Secessionist gathering should be permitted

Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - A State House gathering commemorating South Carolina's 1860 secession from the Union will be held Sunday, a week after state officials revoked a permit for the rally.

Gov. Nikki Haley said Friday she asked that the Secessionist Party's reservation be reinstated. Haley says the State House grounds belong to the public, whether or not she agrees with those exercising their rights to free speech and assembly.

Haley says law enforcement officials have assured her they can handle any public safety concerns if there are counter-demonstrators. The last time the State House was home to a Confederate flag protest, tensions flared and the protest had to be shut down.

Secessionist Party found James Bessenger called the permit's reinstatement a victory for the First Amendment.

He applied for a permit in October and it was granted last month. Then last week it was revoked by the Department of Public Safety because of security concerns.

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