A Ku Klux Klan group has received a permit to rally on the steps of the U.S. Capitol on Labor Day weekend.

The event, scheduled for Sept. 2, is expected to be one part of an afternoon of activities that includes a meeting on the Mall, followed by a march on Constitution Avenue to the Capitol and then a return march to the Washington Monument grounds. Permits for the march and Mall gathering have not yet been issued, said Klan organizer Virgil Griffin.

"We will come to express our views on communism and drugs and integration," said Griffin, the founder and Grand Wizard of the Christian Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, a splinter group of the larger and better-known Invisible Empire, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. "We will also be there to recruit new members," he said.

He said they expect 60 to 250 members to participate.

Griffin said the group chose Labor Day Sunday because the three-day weekend gives participants enough time to drive to Washington and return home without taking time off from jobs.

He said they picked Washington because it had been eight years since the last Klan rally here.

That gathering, in November 1982, was sponsored by a different group, the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. It had permits to rally at the Capitol, march on the avenue and rally at Lafayette Square. Police, fearing a violent confrontation between the 36 Klan members and 6,000 anti-Klan demonstrators, whisked the Klansmen by van from the Capitol to Lafayette Square.

The ploy backfired when demonstrators vented their wrath on police, injuring a dozen officers and damaging 23 businesses.

Capitol Police spokesman Dan Nichols said the permit was issued because the Klan members wanted to exercise their First Amendment rights, an activity guaranteed under the Constitution.

"We will have enough officers to ensure that order is maintained during their demonstration," he said. "We will ensure their right to demonstrate."

Griffin said he had contacted D.C. police and the National Park Service about obtaining the additional permits.

Sandra Alley, spokeswoman for the National Park Service, said the agency received an application yesterday. Lt. Reginald Smith, spokesman for the D.C. police, said he had no knowledge of the proposed march.

Griffin's group, founded in 1985, is one of the most active of the approximately 40 Klan organizations in the country, said Danny Welch, chief investigator for Klanwatch, a division of the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala. The SPLC has brought suit against various Klan groups across the country, winning large settlements in several civil cases.

Welch said Griffin's group has more marches and rallies than other Klan organizations.

Welch said most Klan members hold rallies to generate publicity. He said they rarely break the law and count on anti-Klan demonstrators to create a confrontation.

"The Klan has been around a long time," he said. "They hope counter demonstrators will be there and be violent. That makes {the Klan} look more mainstream."