From The New York Post:
SHEET HAPPENS: JUDGES OK MASKED KKK RALLY
By TOM TOPOUSIS and CLEMENTE LISI
Two federal judges ruled last night the Ku Klux Klan can rally in Manhattan tomorrow wearing hoods and masks - saying the city had no right to deny a protest permit to the white-supremacist group.
Two counterprotest groups that had been denied permission to demonstrate were also given the green light after negotiations with the city in and out of court yesterday.
The city - which tried to bar the Klan from wearing masks - immediately appealed.
“This is another example of the ideology extended from the '60s,” Mayor Giuliani said. “The ruling says people don’t have to take responsibility for what they say or what they do even as they support organizations that encourage anti-Semitism, anti-Catholicism, racism and hatred.”
Norman Siegel, director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, who represented the Klan in Manhattan federal court, called it a “win for the First Amendment.”
“The court clearly recognized a First Amendment right to anonymity,” he said.
The KKK’s request for a permit to rally outside state Supreme Court at 60 Centre St., from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. tomorrow was rejected by the NYPD, which cited a state law barring demonstrators from wearing masks.
The NYCLU agreed to represent the Klan and the counter-protesters.
“The right to hold a peaceful demonstration in the streets of New York is a fundamental right,” Siegel said in court.
Jeff Berry, the National Imperial Wizard of the American Knights of the KKK, tried to paint a picture of a kinder, gentler Klan, summoning the words of a black police-beating victim.
“Rodney King said it great,” he said. “Why can’t we all just get along?”
City lawyer Daniel Connolly defended the anti-mask law, saying it was designed to protect citizens because the masks could embolden protesters to commit crimes - but the judges did not appear to buy the argument.
Earlier, the counter-protesters reached deals with the city.
A group led by Assemblyman Scott Stringer (D-Manhattan) can protest outside 60 Centre from noon to 1 p.m. with amplified sound and, after that, without microphones.
The Partisan Defense Committee can protest two blocks away, outside 100 Centre St., and then march to the Klan’s rally site.
The Jewish Defense League was denied a counter-protest permit, but vowed to be there.
“We will be counterdemonstrating with or without a permit,” Rabbi Yavok Lloyd said. “If blood has to be shed so be it.”