San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and city officials said they are disappointed by the issuance of a permit by the National Park Service to Portland-based Patriot Prayer for a rally on Saturday at Crissy Field.
Golden Gate National Recreation Area Acting General Superintendent Cicely Muldoon announced the approval in a statement Wednesday:
“The National Park Service has a long and proud tradition of being the site of peaceful expressions of people’s views under the First Amendment to the US Constitution which guarantees everyone the right to gather together and express their opinions non-violently.
“We cannot deny a permit to anyone planning to exercise their First Amendment rights based on their political stance or beliefs. We can deny a permit application for public safety reasons if the event raises such significant public safety concerns that law enforcement cannot manage the event.”
Mayor Lee in an afternoon press conference on Wednesday urged San Francisco residents to not attend the Crissy Field “Freedom Rally” which city officials believe will incite violence. Instead, Lee wants people to go a counter rally called “Unite Against Hate Rally” on Friday at Civic Center Plaza at noon:
“I ask people to avoid going to Crissy Field and engaging with members of Patriot Prayer because that is precisely what they wish us to do and I don’t want to dignify their message of hate and their message of division in our city of love and compassion.”
City officials are also planning another counter rally at City Hall on Saturday during the Crissy Field rally.
The Golden Gate National Recreation Area has a list of 26 items banned inside the permitted area at Crissy Field, including firearms, aerosols, ammunition, animals other than working service dogs, weapons of any kind toy guns, and barbecue grills.
“We made sure a comprehensive list of items seen in other rallies and protests across the country used as weapons be totally ban.”
San Francisco Board of Supervisors President London Breed is also asking residents to not show up at Crissy Field on Saturday, and instead join city officials at City Hall on Friday and Saturday:
“We will not let this rally tear us apart. We will not let this rally destroy our city.”
San Francisco Police Chief William Scott said the officers will secure the permitted area and that persons attending the event will be screened before entering the permitted area:
“You will see a very, very large presence of officers at Crissy Field and across The City.”
Scott said the public can expect to see all of the department’s officers working this weekend.
Lee said despite the extensive list of banned items, it still does not put him at ease:
“It’s the responsibility of us now… to bring to the public the highest level of safety and not to second guess and to be very deliberate about this.”
List of Banned Items
- Aerosols / canisters
- Animals other than working service dogs
- Backpacks and bags exceeding the size restriction of 18” by 13” by 7”
- Drones and unmanned aircraft systems
- Glass, thermal or metal containers
- Laser pointers
- Mace / pepper spray
- Selfie sticks
- Signs exceeding the size restriction of 24” by 36” by ¼”
- Supports for signs and placards including sticks of any materials
- Toy guns
- Weapons of any kind
- Barbecue grills, open flames, propane tanks and tiki torches
- Tents, canopies and similar structures
- Wagons or carts
- Any other items determined to be potential safety hazards
- Liquids (other than drinking water in factory sealed, clear plastic bottles)