AUSTIN (KXAN) — One day after KXAN reported that a Sept. 2 event being organized by the Texas Confederate Militia was not properly permitted, the event organizers decided to postpone the event until Sept. 23.
Organizers have moved the “Dixie Freedom Rally” to Saturday, Sept. 23, but it will still take place at Woolridge Square in downtown Austin. According to the rally’s Facebook event page, the event is to promote the “true Confederate heritage that most of America is unaware of.”
The rally organizer, Brad Oxford, told KXAN on Wednesday the rally has sparked an onslaught of threats.
‘We’re getting constant threats, at least 100 of them a day, every day,” Oxford said. “We’re trying to show people that we’re not the racists that we think they are. We’re not part of the Klan, we’re not part of any white supremacist groups at all.”
At the time of the original interview on Wednesday, Oxford said they weren’t going to postpone or cancel because of the encouragement they’ve gotten from supporters. But on Thursday afternoon, Oxford said the situation changed after he spoke with the Austin Parks and Recreation Department and the Austin Police Department.
“We feel it’s best to move it to avoid it possibly turning violent like in Charlottesville,” said Oxford via a message. Oxford says they are currently in the process of getting a permit for the park space.
The group says the rally in Austin will start at 7 a.m. with guest speakers starting at 10 a.m. At noon, the group plans to march to the Texas State Capitol and to the Confederate monuments nearby and then back to the park. Attendees are encouraged to bring a Confederate or U.S. flag. The group addresses open carry, saying long rifles are allowed but people should follow the law.
“No racism tolerated or will be removed,” the event invite states.
APD says it handles protests on an ongoing basis and “firmly believes in protecting everyone’s First Amendment rights, and giving them a safe venue in which to do that.”
KXAN learned from the Parks and Recreation Department that groups need permits to use city parkland. In order to obtain a permit, unless there’s a special exception, the event must be held between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m.