Dimond Center to close Sunday after rumors of an armed rally, but the location appears to be a mistake
The rally could be cancelled due to listing the wrong location and that it has had “little to no response”
JUNEAU, Alaska (KTUU) - The Dimond Center is set to be closed Sunday after a flyer circulated on social media identifying it as the site of an armed rally, but the rally may not go ahead because of little interest and because it was intended to be held in Juneau.
Bob Dye, the mall’s general manager, said earlier in the day that the decision to close the Dimond Center, and its parking lot, was made out of an abundance of caution after rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday.
“We’re not making a political statement, but the Dimond Center is a private, family-owned business and is not an appropriate venue for an event such as this,” Dye said. “We suggest that a traditional venue like the Park Strip is more appropriate for this rally.”
The “Refuse to be Silenced” rally is planned for all 50 state capitals. Instead of being held at the Alaska State Capitol building in Juneau, the Alaska event is listed as being hosted at the Dimond Center in Anchorage, but that appears to have been a mistake.
Details of the rally were posted on the Tree of Liberty’s website which describes itself as informing the public about the “Boogaloo Movement.” The Anti-Defamation League says that the Boogaloo Movement is a fringe far-right organization and that some members are hoping to spark a civil war.
The host of the Tree of Liberty’s website said by email that “the Anchorage protest seems to be getting little to no response. It is unknown if it will proceed.”
The website’s host, who only wanted to be identified as the Tree of Liberty, said the flyer should have listed Juneau as the location for the rally and the mistake of listing the Dimond Center contributed to why its cancellation is pending.
Across the street from the Alaska Capitol building in Juneau is the Dimond Courthouse. The host of the Tree of Liberty website confirmed the similar names of the Dimond Courthouse and the Dimond Center is what caused the confusion of location.
Across the country, the Refuse to be Silenced rally is being billed as the single-largest mass protest to show the “massive number of armed citizens in this country.” The Tree of Liberty states that it does not want a repeat of the deadly siege at the U.S. Capitol.
The website host did not immediately reply to a request for comment if a similar event would now be planned for Juneau.
Dye said earlier in the day that he didn’t know why the Dimond Center was listed as hosting the rally. He said that he is in discussions with the FBI and the Anchorage Police Department.
No rallies or protests have received permits to legally operate in Anchorage over the next week, said Kathleen Miner, the special permits coordinator for the Municipality of Anchorage. There is a 30-day waiting period to receive approval for a protest permit.
The FBI warned on Monday of the potential for armed protests at all 50 state capitals later in the week that would target state legislatures, according to the Associated Press.
Jessica Geary, the director of the Legislative Affairs Agency, said that she is not aware of any rallies planned in the next week at the Alaska Capitol. “We’re actively monitoring any perceived threats and will act accordingly,” she added.
Capitol security personnel are coordinating with law enforcement agencies and will bolster security at the Capitol building. There will be Alaska State Troopers at the Capitol along with regular patrols from the Juneau Police Department.
The Capitol building is closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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