[Marxism] A right-wing group canceled its San Francisco rally. Counterprotesters showed up anyway.

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Aug 26 15:45:08 MDT 2017

Washington Post, August 26 2017
A right-wing group canceled its San Francisco rally. Counterprotesters 
showed up anyway.
By Kristine Phillips

Scuffles broke out on the streets of San Francisco after hundreds of 
people descended on the city to protest a now-canceled event by a 
right-wing group, according to media reports.

Organizers canceled the “Freedom Rally” as city leaders braced for the 
kind of protest that drew extremist groups to Charlottesville, Virginia 
earlier this month. The pro-Trump group Patriot Prayer then planned to 
hold a news conference instead — but that, too, did not happen after the 
city blocked the venue from the public. Meanwhile, hundreds of 
counterprotesters gathered at a San Francisco park on Saturday morning, 
according to media reports.

Organizers of the “Freedom Rally” blamed the cancellation of their event 
on public officials who they say falsely portrayed them as violent 
right-wing extremists intent on bringing hate to San Francisco. The 
event was scheduled Saturday afternoon at Crissy Field, a recreational 
area near the Golden Gate Bridge.

“It doesn’t seem safe,” Joey Gibson, founder of the Oregon-based group 
said Friday night on Facebook Live. “The rhetoric from Nancy Pelosi, 
Mayor [Ed] Lee, the media, all these people are saying that we’re white 
supremacists and is bringing tons of extremists … We have a lot of 
respect for the citizens of San Francisco, and at the end of the day we 
want people to be safe.”

After canceling the Crissy Field event, Gibson said his group planned to 
hold a news conference Saturday afternoon at Alamo Square Park to “talk 
about some of the rhetoric in San Francisco.” But the city, suspicious 
of the group’s intentions, on Saturday morning built fences around the 
park, CBS affiliate KCBS reported. Gibson then wrote on Facebook he will 
hold an “indoor news conference” and show up at “random spots” in the 
city to talk to residents.

Counterprotesters later showed up at Alamo Square Park, where minor 
scuffles broke out between them and police officers, the San Francisco 
Chronicle reported. Some demanded to be allowed past police barricades. 
They chanted, “Let us in!” and, “Our streets!”

Tensions between Gibson’s group and city officials have been brewing 
over the past several days. Mayor Ed Lee on Wednesday condemned the 
decision by the National Park Service, which controls Crissy Field, to 
grant Gibson’s group a permit.

“The shameful, anti-American trend of hate-filled extremist rallies will 
unfortunately be allowed to continue this weekend in our city,” Lee said 
in a statement. “Since the beginning of this process, we have repeatedly 
stated that the public safety of San Francisco residents and visitors is 
our top priority.”

Lee, Police Chief Bill Scott and Board of Supervisors President London 
Breed had written a letter expressing outrage over the Park Service’s 
decision to allow the rally and urging officials to make sure that 
security measures were in place. Breed said last week groups like 
Patriot Prayer “are not welcome” in San Francisco, KCBS reported.

“San Francisco has a long and storied history of championing freedom of 
speech and First Amendment rights, but as we have witnesses in recent 
months, these types of rallies can quickly turn hateful and violent with 
tragic consequences,” the letter said, according to KCBS.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement Wednesday she had 
“grave concerns about the public safety hazard” tied with the “white 
supremacist rally.” In a letter last week to Park Service officials, 
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said the rally “poses very real threats 
to the public should the protest devolve into racial violence and 
clashes with law enforcement.”

In a statement Friday, Lee confirmed Patriot Prayer has relinquished its 
rally permit, but he said law enforcement officials are prepared for 
“any contingencies and spontaneous events.”

“San Francisco does not welcome outside agitators whose messages of hate 
have the sole purpose of inciting violence,” Lee said, adding Patriot 
Prayer has neither requested nor obtained a permit to hold an event at 
Alamo Square Park. “I want to reinforce that existing San Francisco law 
prohibits firearms and weapons in city parks. Those who seek to commit 
acts of violence or damage property will be arrested and prosecuted.”

Patriot Prayer, originally based in Vancouver, Wash., and later moved to 
Portland, Ore., describes itself as a group that fights big government.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the group has held 
protests that attracted white supremacists and white nationalists. For 
instance, Jeremy Christian, a white supremacist accused of stabbing 
three men who tried to intervene when he shouted anti-Muslim slurs at 
two young women on a Portland light-rail train, attended a rally 
organized by Gibson in April.

Recently, however, Gibson has tried to distance himself and his group 
from extremists. He openly denounced white supremacists and neo-Nazis at 
his rally in Seattle on Aug. 13.

Gibson pushed back at how San Francisco officials had characterized his 
rally, which he said would not have welcomed white supremacists and 
other extremist groups. He said organizers decided to cancel, fearing a 
clash between white supremacists and “antifa,” referring to anti-fascist 
protesters, would lead to unrest.

“They could’ve come at the park, and we would not have been able to 
filter them out,” Gibson said on Facebook Live. “So there’s just so many 
things … In our opinion, it seems like it would’ve been a huge riot.”

Gibson said Friday speakers and band members who were supposed to 
perform at the “Freedom Rally” will be at the news conference to urge 
public officials to denounce anti-fascist groups who he said planned to 
disrupt their demonstration with weapons and chemical irritants.”

“They say they’re against violence. They say they’re against hate,” 
Gibson said of public officials, pointing to Lee and Pelosi. “We’re 
really asking … Do they support antifa? Do they support BAMN? (BAMN, or 
By Any Means Necessary, is a left-wing activist group planning to show 
up wherever Patriot Prayer holds an event, according to news reports.)

San Francisco Supervisor Mark Farrell, whose district borders Crissy 
Field, dismissed the news conference as a way to “cause further 
disruption,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

“Whether they hold a rally at Crissy Field or make plans elsewhere to 
disrupt our city, it is our responsibility to make sure every 
contingency is planned for,” Farrell said, according to the Chronicle. 
“I was hoping they would cancel and pack up their tents and go home.”

[Portland, often seen as a progressive playground, now deals with 
murderous hate]

California state Sen. Scott Wiener, a Democrat whose district includes 
San Francisco, said organizers of the Patriot Prayer rally canceled at 
the last minute because of security restrictions placed by Park Service 
officials. These include banning any object that could be used as a 
weapon. Wiener said Friday he is “deeply concerned” the event at Alamo 
Square Park will turn violent.

“Patriot Prayer is not interested in simply exercising free speech. 
Rather, Patriot Prayer wants to create a volatile, chaotic, violent 
tinderbox,” he said in a statement shared on Twitter.

In response to Wiener’s statement, Gibson wrote on Facebook: “Senator 
Scott Wiener says it is illegal for me to talk with media in a public 
park, come arrest me. The truth will come out.”

Across the bay, an anti-Marxism rally scheduled for Sunday at Martin 
Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park in Berkeley, Calif., was also 
canceled. The event was never granted a permit.

In an email obtained by the Chronicle Friday, organizer Amber Cummings 
asked people to not come to her event, called “No to Marxism in 
America,” because she feared “terrorist groups like Antifa and BAMN are 
trying to incite riots and violence.”

She said she, alone, will attend the event.

“I do not want to risk of violence happening or anyone getting hurt. … 
If in the event I am hurt or killed attending this rally, I ask you to 
please not retaliate on each other as result of my injuries. Let my life 
be the last one lost,” wrote Cummings, a transgender woman and a Trump 

Berkeley city officials have imposed rules preventing protesters from 
bringing metal pipes, baseball bats, poles, rocks, glass bottles and 
other objects that could be used as weapons. Masks, scarves, bandannas 
and other accessory items not meant for religious purposes are also 

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