GOP Will Rally in Decatur Despite Lack of Permit
The city didn't issue a permit, but DeKalb Republicans will gather outside the old DeKalb Courthouse Saturday morning as Women for Obama are setting up for their own rally.
The City of Decatur refused to issue a permit, but DeKalb Republicans say that won't stop them from rallying for Romney Saturday morning shortly before Democrats start their own rally.
Republicans will still gather at 9:30 a.m. at the flagpole behind the old courthouse, said Linda Smith, one of the GOP organizers. Women for Obama will start their rally at 10 a.m.
The city turned down the Republicans because Women for Obama had already applied for a rally permit, said city spokeswoman Linda Harris. The city normally doesn't allow two events at the same time on the court square, she said.
"We can peacefully assemble under the flag," Smith said Friday morning. "Constitutionally we have the right to assemble."
Steve Perkins of the Decatur area, a delegate to the Democratic Convention, had a different opinion. He said in an email, "This is so typical of the GOP. They are obstructionist to the core. This is not a counter-rally, it yet another exercise in political futility here in DeKalb."
Democratic activist and Patch blogger Jan Selman of Decatur called for Democratic women to turn out in force.
"The question is -- why hijack someone else’s event?" she said in an email to Patch. "The story is then about the hijack and not your message, or perhaps that is their message. Whoa -- how sad it that? I think this is typical of the GOP, not to play by the rules and to bully."
Smith said Republicans were not being disrespectful toward the Decatur city government.
"We're going to be very respectful," she said. "The Decatur Square doesn't belong to anybody except the people of Decatur."
Online information posted earlier said the Republican rally would start at 9:45 and end at 11 a.m., but Smith said she didn't know how long the assembly would actually last in light of Decatur's refusal to issue a permit.
Smith said Chris Vaughn, Republican candidate for the 4th District congressional seat, will speak and T-shirts and party literature will be handed out. Then the group will go to the nearby Chick-fil-A.
Women for Obama are scheduled to rally from 10 a.m. to noon outside the old courthouse -- also known as the DeKalb History Center -- and will be setting up for several hours before the start of the rally.
Political events rarely start and end on time, so it's very possible the two rallies will overlap.
Vaughn, who faces incumbent Democrat Hank Johnson in the general election also said Republicans were not disrespecting Decatur.
"Am I supposed to get a permit from Decatur to meet my supporters?" he said.
The Republican event is being billed online as a "counter rally.
She said she didn't know if the rally was originally planned in reaction to the Women for Obama event.