Aryan Nations founder Richard Butler says the city of Coeur d’Alene is playing games with his application for a parade permit.
Butler said Monday he believes the Aryan Nations’ request to hold a parade on July 25 was filed before a downtown Coeur d’Alene merchants organization asked to hold a street festival the same weekend.
The Downtown Merchants Association filed a request with city officials about two weeks ago for use of a 10-block stretch of Sherman Avenue for a “Celebrate Coeur d’Alene” business festival.
“I think they backdated the merchants’ request just to play games with us,” Butler said Monday.
If the city doesn’t grant him a parade permit, Butler said, he will march straight to the American Civil Liberties Union for legal help.
“We intend to exercise our constitutional rights and hold our parade,” he said. “We’ll go to the ACLU if we need to.”
Under city law, police can refuse to allow two special events on the same day for safety and security reasons.
The Aryan Nations filed an application on Feb. 3 to hold a march in downtown Coeur d’Alene on April 18 to celebrate Adolf Hitler’s birthday.
But Butler canceled those plans on March 11 and told city police he wanted to reschedule the parade for July 25.
Butler said he followed up his verbal notification with a written note to Coeur d’Alene police Capt. Ken Timmons and the submission of a second application a few days later.
However, Coeur d’Alene police officials said Monday that the application for “Celebrate Coeur d’Alene” had been received March 12. The new application from the Aryan Nations was received March 18.
Butler wants his parade to start in City Park and proceed down Sherman Avenue before returning to the park, where a rally would be held.
The Aryan parade would feature flags from 14 countries, with participants “marching seven abreast and 14 deep.”
Butler and others who follow the Christian Identity religious doctrine believe that descendants from the 14 “lost tribes of Israel” are the real children of God.
The Aryan Nations’ “100 flag march” is being advertised on the Internet, and Butler said he’s getting inquiries from abroad.
Butler said he had to cancel the April parade because his organization was forced to forfeit a $2,200 bond for a former member who jumped bail on a traffic charge.
That cash is needed for food and transportation for parade participants, Butler said.
The July parade is scheduled during the annual Aryan World Congress, a three-day gathering at Butler’s Church of Jesus Christ Christian, north of Hayden Lake.
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