Blacks and whites join in opposition to fees in Alabama city

FILE -In this Tuesday, March 3, 2015 file photo, a billboard erected to draw visitors to Civil War history sites in Selma, Ala, is seen. Organizers of an annual Civil War re-enactment and a civil rights commemoration are upset by the mayor's plan to charge them thousands of dollars for police, fire and cleanup services. Organizers of the annual Selma Bridge Crossing Jubilee say they won't pay, and the battle re-enactment was canceled for this year. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart, File)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Blacks who celebrate the civil rights movement and whites who commemorate the Civil War are suddenly finding themselves on the same side in historic Selma, Alabama: against City Hall.

Both groups say the city is squeezing them with demands for thousands of dollars in up-front payments to stage annual events that bring tens of thousands of visitors to an otherwise sleepy community.

Plans for next month’s Selma Bridge Crossing Jubilee commemorating the Selma-to-Montgomery voting rights march of 1965 are up in the air over the city’s demand.

And the re-enactment of the 1865 Battle of Selma has been canceled because organizers couldn’t afford the tab.

First-term Mayor Darrio Melton says the city has streets that are caving and can’t afford to provide services for private events.

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