- (Photo: REUTERS/Max Rossi)
A reported 2 million bikers will ride to a September 11 rally in Washington, D.C., despite the city denying them a permit over concerns of security and traffic disruptions.
Organizers had sought the temporary closure of some city roads and intersections to allow riders
"Solely to facilitate the speed and timeliness of the participants in itself does not fall within the definition of a First Amendment assembly," police rep Gwendolyn Crump told WTOP Tuesday. "The activity was viewed as expressive… the organizers were also encouraged to consider changing the date of the ride to a weekend," Crump added.
"2 Million Bikers to D.C." planned the rally as a counter to American Muslim Political Action Committee's "Million American March Against Fear," to be held on the National Mall.
A permit would have allowed the bikers to traverse D.C. with police escorts and without having to stop for red lights. They can still bike along the city's streets, but they won't have police escorts to help them push through traffic.
At least 2,000 motorcyclists are expected at the event, which begins 11 a.m. at a Harley Davidson dealership in Prince George's County.
"2 Million Bikers" says the purpose of the rally is to "remember those who were killed on 911 and honor our armed forced who fought those who precipitated this attack."
In an interview with the conservative Tea Party News Network, Belinda Bee said that her group had been the victims of discrimination.
"We were discriminated against because we're Americans…. [Muslims] are going to celebrate the deaths of the Americans and that really has all the bikers very upset."
"2 Million Bikers to D.C." had planned the rally as a counter to American Muslim Political Action Committee's "Million American March Against Fear," to be held on the National Mall.
Still the group is undeterred.
"The only thing we're doing differently is that we're not going to have a permit. We don't have to have a permit; those streets are paid for by our tax dollars and we have a First Amendment right to ride down those streets," Bee added.