Organizers say Denmark, SC city leaders try to deny request to hold peaceful rally

CSRA News

DENMARK, S.C. (WJBF) — A claim of a violation of constitutional rights in Denmark, South Carolina. The charge comes before a rally scheduled this weekend that may be in jeopardy of being canceled.

“We’re not asking them to close 321 or Highway 70 or Highway 78 we’re asking to close down two roads that not a whole lot of people traffic,” Founding Member of Denmark Citizens for Safe Water Deanna Miller Berry told NewsChannel 6’s Shawn Cabbagestalk.

Some Denmark residents are calling it an injustice. City leaders not allowing the closure of streets for a peaceful assembly. Berry says that she contacted officials to let them know that the expected crowds would be larger than anticipated. “Denmark Citizens for Safe Water was in constant communications with the city police chief regarding logistics and requested streets to be closed for safety reasons for all participants,” she shared.

Wanting to know that barricades will be in place for the crowds, she contacted the Department of Transportation. DOT informed her the Denmark Police Department would be responsible for providing maps and other information needed. “On Tuesday, May 21, I walked into city hall to provide the map as promised only to be told by the city administrator Heyward Robinson in a very disrespectful and degrading matter that the mayor said you aren’t having your rally it’s not happening and I doubt the Mayor will ever let you have another one,” Berry recalled.

A rally for clean water was held back in January to help raise awareness surrounding the number of issues with the water system. Berry says that the application was denied because of the time in which it was returned back to officials. Also she didn’t turn in the required documents. But her group wasn’t told what was missing from the documents. 

“The application is dated from May 1, it was turned in on May 7 — well within the times required to be able to receive approval. According to the original application, the City does not require any additional documents to be provided when submitted an application for a permit,” she stated during a news conference. 

Berry said that she was informed by Mayor Gerald Wright that she would have to wait until Wednesday afternoon in order to find out if the City would be able to do anything, Berry’s response, “you’re the Mayor, they have to listen to what you say.”

Several people attempted to go into city hall but a note was on the door saying employees were out to lunch. We spoke with several people who attended Wednesday’s news conference.

“You want to deny a rally but uptown, late at night, they having parties, people getting killed,” Helen Jeffery said.

“Because for him to grow up in this town, and to see what is happening to the citizens of this town he does not need to be in office,” Remella Duncan
 stated.

“The Mayor is nothing but using the Donald Trump bully tactics,” Michael Cooper added.

The event will take place near Denmark Furniture Store from 7-9 p.m. on S Magnolia and S Dogwood Avenues.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.