San Francisco latest U.S. city to brace for protests

  • In US
  • 2017-08-25 21:06:02Z
  • By By Dan Whitcomb

By Dan Whitcomb

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - San Francisco braced on Friday for a weekend of protests, including a rally by an Oregon-based group that local leaders labeled "white supremacist" as the city's mayor urged residents to boycott the event.

The demonstrations planned for Friday, Saturday and Sunday across the Bay Area raised concern among San Francisco police and elected officials two weeks after right-wing activists, including neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan, fought with anti-racism protesters in the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia.

A woman was killed at that "Unite the Right" rally when a man thought to have neo-Nazi sympathies drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters. Nineteen other people were injured.

The Saturday event is billed as a "free speech" rally, but critics say the Oregon-based organizers, Patriot Prayer, is a white nationalist group, pointing to plans that may include the far-right Oath Keepers providing armed security. The group has decried racism and neo-Nazis.

Last weekend, 33 people were arrested in Boston as tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets to protest a "free speech" rally featuring far-right speakers.

In San Francisco, city officials including Mayor Ed Lee had lobbied the National Park Service to deny a permit for Patriot Prayer to hold its event at Crissy Field, which is under federal control as part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

When that permit was granted on Wednesday, Lee told residents of San Francisco to essentially boycott the rally.

"I ask our public and our residents of the San Francisco Bay Area to honor our request to not dignify people who are coming in here under the guise of patriot and prayer words to really preach violence and hatred," Lee told a press conference.

The mayor urged locals to instead attend city-hosted events on Friday and Saturday that he said would focus on "inclusion, compassion and love rather than hate." The first of those is a "Unite Against Hate" rally planned for noon local time (1900 GMT) in a downtown plaza on Friday.

U.S. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, in a written statement, slammed the Patriot Prayer gathering as a dangerous "white supremacist rally."

Left-wing counter-protesters, meanwhile, were planning a march to Crissy Field, where police were concerned a confrontation could erupt. San Francisco-based artist and designer Terrence Ryan, known professionally as Tuffy Tuffington, has put out a call on Facebook for canine owners to litter the field beginning on Friday with dog poop ahead of the Patriot Prayer event.

Patriot Prayer founder Joey Gibson said in a video message posted on the group's Facebook page it was "absolutely not" white supremacist, adding he is a person of color.

"What I'm trying to do is bring people together who believe in freedom, who believe in love, believe in peace and believe in free speech," Gibson said.

The nonprofit Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, does not classify Patriot Prayer in those terms and reported on its website that Gibson denounced white supremacists and "neo-Nazis" at a rally in Seattle earlier this month.

Participants in the Patriot Prayer will not be allowed to brandish firearms, the National Park Service said.

On Sunday, conservative activists planned a so-called "No to Marxism" rally in nearby Berkeley, an event that left-wing groups were also expected to protest. However, city of Berkeley officials on Thursday denied that group's request for a rally permit.

An organizer for the planned Berkeley rally could not be reached for comment.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Additional reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; editing by Diane Craft)


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  • Ronald
    (2017-08-26 16:09:48Z)

    As usual the democrat party & their mainstream news media are lying about the folk's wanting to prayer and rally for peace and free speech...that includes the lying ( we have to pass it to find out what's in it ) Pelosi!

  • jennifer
    (2017-08-26 16:27:59Z)

    I bet none of you reading this have done your research with reliable sources... Yahoo is not a reliable source, bias media is not a reliable source. YOU ALL NEED TO FEAR THE MEDIA AND THE PRESS ..... they are losing ratings in the battle for power..... they lost TV viewers, they lost newspaper power. now they are feeding on younger generations using the INTERNET..... spinning lies out of control to start racial wars, women wars, and many other types of problems to gain power. YOU ALSO NEED TO LOOK AT WHO OWNS THE MEDIA.... who is running these corporations right now.... you need to stop and think, your losing power by believing every little thing you read or hear... the media is gaining more control over you than you think! They like to stir the pot, heat things up , and manifest trouble to gain more power... PLEASE FOR EVERYONE'S SAKE.... WAKE UP .... THEY FEED ON THE IMPRESSIONABLE AND HOPE FOR STUPIDITY. THEY OWN YOU, CONTROL YOU..... WE ONLY HEAR THE BIAS TROUBLE MAKING IDEALS OF PEOPLE BEHIND THE CHAIR MAKING DECISIONS ON WHAT WE ACTUALLY KNOW. THEY USE ..... CELEBRITIES FOR PROPaGANDA, THEY USE REALITY STARS, THEY USE PEOPLE..... STOP FEEDING THE DEMONS AND THE POWER HUNGRY FOREIGNERS WHO HAVE INVESTED IN COMPANIES THAT WE WATCH HERE IN AMERICA... We are lied to, tricked, and even the writers at these networks have called us dumb in the past saying we believe anything they post or say. DO NOT BELIEVE YOUR MEDIA NETWORKS..... These are the people making the rules.... Do not play into their ability to start wars, they report on, riots they report on, fights they start by blowing things up ten times worse.....


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