By Julie Shapiro
LOWER MANHATTAN — The organizers of a massive June 6 rally opposing the Ground Zero mosque are not allowed to protest at their planned location in Zuccotti Park, DNAinfo has learned.
The NYPD has not issued a permit for the D-Day demonstration by the group Stop Islamization of America, a Police spokeswoman said. And Brookfield Properties, the owner of Zuccotti Park, generally does not allow political protests on the plaza across from the World Trade Center site.
“A protest event will not be happening in Zuccotti Park,” said Melissa Coley, Brookfield spokeswoman.
A person with knowledge of the permitting process told DNAinfo the anti-mosque rally was initially pitched as a gathering for 9/11 family members, and the city approved it several weeks ago.
But once it became clear that the event would be a protest against Cordoba House, a 13-story mosque and community center slated to rise near ground zero, the city withdrew the permit, the source said.
Pamela Geller, executive director of Stop Islamization of America, said the protest would go forward as planned.
“We’ve cleared all the legal hurdles the city requires for a rally,” she said in an e-mail to DNAinfo.
Zuccotti Park is a privately owned public space, so both the city and Brookfield Properties have jurisdiction over what happens there.
U.S. Steel built the park back in the 1970s in return for a height bonus on One Liberty Plaza, an adjacent office tower. The park was then called Liberty Plaza.
Brookfield now owns both the tower and the plaza. Several years ago, Brookfield renovated the space using private money and renamed it for John Zuccotti, the company’s chairman.
Based on the online response to the rally so far, it appears that hundreds, if not thousands, of people could be planning to attend the June 6 rally. More than 400 people have RSVPed on Facebook so far.
Stop Islamization of America is helping potential attendees connect via its website. A post on carpooling has drawn 54 responses since Monday, with people planning to come from as far away as California, Louisiana, Texas, Missouri and Michigan.
Geller slammed the “insensitive” mosque plans at Community Board 1’s meeting Tuesday night.
“This mega mosque is going up on sacred ground,” she told the crowd of several hundred people. “This is an insult.”
While the number of people who will turn up at the June 6 protest is hard to predict, hundreds of people are discussing it on Twitter, YouTube and other sites, and more than 85,000 people have joined a Facebook group opposing the mosque.