JACKSON — A civil rights group criticized local officials' reaction to a pro-Palestine protest scheduled for Sunday.

The “Save Palestine, Ceasefire now” rally and march begins at 4 p.m. at the Jackson Public Works garage on Don Connor Boulevard, according to a post on the Voice for Humanity Project Instagram page.

The same group purchased a billboard on Route 9 in Howell 10 miles north of the Lakewood border during the Jewish holiday of Passover that read "Stand with Humanity. Stand with Palestine."

Mayor Mike Reina, a Republican, issued a statement saying that the event has not been authorized and that the township would be “vigilant.”

In the statement to The Lakewood Scoop, Reina also said "several agencies" were looking into the origin of the message.

ALSO READ: Pro-Palestinian sit-in ends at Princeton:

What they got out of it

Jackson Mayor Mike Reina cost of living pay raise (Jacksontwpnj.net)
Jackson Mayor Mike Reina cost of living pay raise (Jacksontwpnj.net)

Mayor: Creating a controversy that doesn't exist

The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said a township counter-terrorism police officer went to an organizer’s home and told them a permit was needed for the protest.

“Their treatment of protestors as threatening and dangerous is harmful and puts them at risk. By telling the community to remain vigilant in the face of peaceful assembly creates the harmful rhetoric that pro-Palestinian protestors are dangerous, violent and even implicitly criminal," CAIR-NJ said.

A statement from the mayor on Thursday morning said that CAIR-NJ is trying to create a controversy that doesn't exist.

"If they wish to hold a rally in support of a terrorist organization like Hamas that is their right, but they will have to comply with the township's requirement for a permit just like everyone else," Reina said.

The mayor also took a swipe at Gov. Phil Murphy and a now-settled lawsuit claiming township policies made it harder for Orthodox Jews to practice their religion.

"I would hope that the Murphy Administration and Attorney General Platkin, who were quick to sue Jackson Township to allege anti-Semitism, will act just as quickly to insure CAIR’s 'rally' is not used to target Jackson’s growing Orthodox community," Reina said.

The most recent pro-Palestinian campus protest was ended by its organizers on Wednesday after 21 days. None of their demands were met by the university. They hinted at making a return during the Princeton Reunions event happening the weekend before commencement.

Image promoting pro-Palestinian protest in Jackson
Image promoting pro-Palestinian protest in Jackson(@voiceforhumanityproject via Instagram)

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