An annual motorcycle rally intended to honor the victims of 9/11 and military veterans almost did not happen on Thursday when U.S. Park Services threatened to yank their permits and tow the motorcycles parked on the mall.
“The way the parks people talked to us and took my picture like I’m some sort of criminal was disgusting. We were basically threatened several times with pulling the permits at the last minute,” Belinda Bee, a national organizer for the 2 Million Bikers to DC told Breitbart News. “And everything they said that wasn’t on the permit, I pulled the permit out and showed them where it was.”
Bee added, “They tried to deny the 9/11 still memorial, which is on the permit. They tried to deny all of the stage and the truck. That’s on the permit.”
As bikers rolled up on to DC’s mall and parked on the grassy perimeter, Bee took to the stage and told attendees she was being threatened with arrest by U.S. Park Service Officers, because riders parked on the gravel and the grass.
“Luckily, the police that do the Madison and Jefferson streets ended up helping us out, because bikes were getting tickets even though we asked for permits for parking all the way around,” Bee said. “All other first amendment activities are given parking space. We were not. She told us we had to talk to Officer Johnson. Officer Johnson said he doesn’t issue the permits,” noting the Parks Service only wanted to know why DC did not issue the organization first amendment parking this year.
U.S. Park Services Public Information Officer Lelane Woods could not confirm to Breitbart News the actions claimed by the biker organization.
“We have tried for [first amendment parking], but I think they tried to flip it on us by trying to tell us that another department was over it.”
According to Bee the event, which is in its 13th year, was denied permits last year, but 800,000 to 1.2 million individuals showed up on bikes anyway. The attendance this year, however, was substantially lower and Bee attributes that to individuals who were concerned about the current terror threat.
“This year a lot of people were afraid. All of a sudden the Department of Homeland Security starts issuing warnings the day after we get a permit about be care for 9/11 attacks. A lit of our followers said they were scared, so unfortunately their quote – unquote protection for America–all of a sudden this department is concerned for America’s well being–please.”
Breitbart News rode with the group leaving from Coleman Power Sports in Arlington, Virginia and spoke with 2 Million Bikers To DC Pennsylvania coordinator Mark Carroll.
“It’s a lot of behind the scenes–a lot of organizing on the national level as well as the state level. Our national team works as soon as this event is over they get ready for next year,” Carrol said. “There’s no resting in between. It’s a very long process, but it’s well worth it. This is definitely something that is going to continue for a very long time.”
The mission of the ride according to Carroll “is to honor those who have fought and 9/11 victims. We’re all about the Constitution. Our mission is very straight and to the point. It’s a great group. We have a lot of great members and our national staff is amazing.
Bikers have been honoring 9/11 victims and the military for 13 years. In previous years, some bikers have gotten hurt riding from their home states to the DC area. Carroll stressed their organization’s priority is always safety.
“We take safety very seriously. We work with state and local authorities to try and make sure everybody makes it to the location accident free. Safety is a very big thing. We have people at the national level coordinate with DC Metro as well as DC Emergency Management.”
The band Madison Rising played at the gathering and various speakers criticized the administration for its national security policy. Speakers at the event included: Author Dinesh D’Souza, Fox News Contributor Bill Cowan, and Wayne Dupree.