San Francisco city officials are sending a clear message to an alt-right organization that they are not welcomed in The City for a planned rally on Aug. 26.
The group known as Patriot Prayer filed a permit with the Golden Gate National Recreation Area to hold a rally at Crissy Field, which is federal property. The GGNRA has tentatively approved the group’s permit to hold an event called the “Freedom Rally.”
Mayor Ed Lee said during a Tuesday press conference at City Hall that recent rallies by alt-right groups, including one held last weekend in Charlottesville, Va. last weekend, will end up inciting violence at the rally:
“We do not invite hate speech or hatred to come into our city and to instigate not only hatred, but potential violence.”
Lee and other top officials, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, are calling for the GGNRA and the National Park Service to reconsider issuing the permit to the group.
Joey Gibson, an organizer for the group Patriot Prayer, said in a Facebook video that the rally is not a “white nationalist” or “white supremacist” rally, citing that the rally will have an Asian, Hispanic, transsexual and black speaker.
Pelosi said in a statement about the planned rally:
“I am deeply alarmed by the hateful and dangerous nature of the event, its timing so soon after the horrors in Charlottesville, and the serious questions over whether the National Park Service is at all equipped to ensure public safety during a white supremacist rally. The NPS should reevaluate its decision and its capacity to protect the public during such a toxic rally.”
Board of Supervisors President London Breed that the GGNRA had tentatively issued the group a permit for the event:
“To say we are outraged is an understatement.”
“These groups promote racism. They promote hate. They promote violence. They promote all of things we are against in San Francisco.”
San Francisco Police Chief William Scott said the department is working with the GGNRA in making sure everyone is safe if a rally does occur on Aug. 26:
“Our message is clear. Violence will not be tolerated in any form.”
Lee said had also sent a letter to the GGNRA General Superintendent Cicely Muldoon, which read:
“This permit has been granted without the necessary contingencies to protect the safety of the public and with the expectation that the City and County of San Francisco will expend our resources to diffuse the situation. Furthermore, the permit was granted without adequate time to prepare the multi-agency response that will be required.”