Bowser asks National Park Service to deny Public Gathering Permits ahead of inauguration

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is asking Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt to deny all Public Gathering Permits on federal land across the city in the days surrounding President-elect Joe Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration.

“I am requesting the Secretary of the Department of the Interior cancel any and all public gathering permits in the District of Columbia and deny any applications for public gatherings during the period Jan. 11 through Jan. 24,” Bowser said during a news conference Monday.

Bowser, who made her request to Bernhardt on Sunday in a letter to Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Chad Wolf, said she wanted all Public Gathering Permits in D.C. for the requested National Special Security Event denied.

National Park Service records show two permits have been granted so far.

One permit said 15 participants from the the ISKCON of D.C. Hare Krishna community would be  in front of the National History Museum through Jan. 26. That gathering started Jan. 6.

The other is a “Sundays only” gathering at the Washington Monument of 60 expected Falun Gong followers that began on Jan 3. and is expected to end on April 25.

Five other permits show to be “processing,” according to park service records.

Free-speech demonstrators, pro-Trump activists and Black Americans marching for reparations have requested permits. Those demonstrations could have 10,000 participants.

The National Park Service has not responded to WTOP’s request for comment or response to Bowser’s request to deny Public Gathering Permits, part of her larger effort to limit the chance that the deadly violence seen at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 repeats itself.

Matt Small

Matt joined WTOP News at the start of 2020, after contributing to Washington’s top news outlet as an Associated Press journalist for nearly 18 years.

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