Judge rules 'alt-right' rally should go forward as planned

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — A federal judge has ordered a Virginia city to allow a weekend rally of white nationalists and other extremists to take place at its originally planned location downtown.

U.S. District Judge Glen Conrad granted a preliminary injunction Friday in a lawsuit filed against Charlottesville by right-wing blogger Jason Kessler.

Kessler organized the Saturday rally to protest Charlottesville's decision to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from Emancipation Park.

The city announced earlier this week that the rally must be moved out of Emancipation Park to a larger one, citing safety reasons. The rally and counter-protests are expected to draw thousands of people.

Kessler sued, saying the change was a free speech violation.

The city said in a statement that it would abide by the judge's decision.