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Controversial Arlington parade doesn’t have a city permit

A parade in Arlington planned to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day that has garnered some controversy won’t get a permit from the city, officials announced Thursday.

According to a news release from the city: After organizers for Monday’s planned Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. parade in the Entertainment District failed to meet event planning and security-related funding requirements, the City of Arlington has declined to issue a permit for the advertised event.”

Permits are required for parades on public streets, public parks or other outdoor spaces owned by the city and the organizers of the Toyota North Texas Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade “have not provided the required payment to cover the city’s personnel and equipment costs for traffic management and event security, as required by the city’s Special Events Ordinance,” according to the release.

Event spokeswoman Winsor Barbee told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that the parade costs about $250,000 and organizers fell short by about $60,000 because several sponsors pulled their funding over the boycott threats.

Local NAACP officials say they support canceling the parade because Abbott’s participation would have forced them to protest an event meant to honor King. They say Abbott’s political beliefs are antithetical to those of the civil rights leader.

The event, which is sponsored by several companies and organizations, including Toyota, the Texas Rangers, the Dallas Cowboys, and NBC5, has received some criticism for inviting Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to serve as Honorary Parade Grand Marshal. Some called for a boycott. The event had originally said that other officials were going to be in the parade, including Tarrant County District Attorney Sharen Wilson, who said she had not been invited to participate. “The first I heard about this event was in news reports which stated – to my surprise – that I would be participating,” she said in a statement. “I was not contacted by any media to confirm my involvement.”

In the news release, the city notes it is “a long-time co-sponsor of the annual Arlington Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Advancing the Dream Celebration, now in its 29th year.”

Sponsored by the Arlington Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Committee, that event is taking place as scheduled from Friday, Jan. 12 to Monday, Jan. 15, 2018. www.ArlingtonMLK.com

This report includes information from: Fort Worth Star-Telegram, http://www.star-telegram.com

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