The recognition of the 154th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg is expected to attract many Americans, among them members of the so-called “Antifa” movement who intend to “desecrate” the graves of those who fell in the battle and to protest.
Philly.com reported that officials from the town of Gettysburg and federal battlefield park officials, have acknowledged warnings that several protest groups are targeting this year’s celebration.
Several legitimate and long-existing groups, including Sons of Confederate Veterans, have obtained permits to gather, but others intend to protest without official permission.
According to the blog Harrisburg100, at least one “Antifa” group has notified supporters that it intends to burn Confederate and American flags in Gettysburg during the anniversary celebration. The site linked to an EventBu page promoting the protest, although the event listing has since been deleted.
Advertisements for protests to be held in Gettysburg were also found on two Facebook pages, yet were deleted after being discovered.
A Civil War enthusiasts’ page posted the following warning:
There is an event set up on Facebook that calls for the desecration of Confederate cemeteries on Confederate Memorial Day. Specifically, on Saturday, May 13, 3-6 PM, this group intends to target Old Marietta Confederate Cemetery. They intend to burn CBFs and/or urinate on graves. They also have an event scheduled for July 1, 3-6 PM, at Gettysburg National Memorial Park Cemetery… The group urges their followers to “find their local Confederate graves” to desecrate.
Park officials are preparing for disruptions during the anniversary celebration.
“Our goal is to ensure that public safety and visitor safety is number one and that park resources are preserved,” said Katie Lawhon, a spokeswoman for Gettysburg National Military Park.
Gettysburg is the largest battle ever waged on American soil with more than 160,000 troops engaging in a three-day fight that left 51,000 troops dead. The area is one of America’s first battlefield parks and features approximately 1,328 monuments, markers, and memorials which commemorate the Union and Confederate troops who fought and perished in the battle.
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