The city of Berkeley has denied a permit for a rally planned for Sunday that organizers say is aimed at opposing Marxism but some elected officials allege would be a gathering of white supremacists.
Berkeley Deputy City Manager Jovan Grogan said in a letter to Amber Cummings, an Antioch resident who’s the organizer of the “No to Marxism” rally planned for Berkeley’s Civic Center Park from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, that her permit application was late, incomplete and doesn’t include critical information.
Grogan told Cummings, a self-described transgender “patriot,” that applications for major park events must be made at least 10 business days in advance but the city only received her application seven days before the proposed event.
Grogan said the application doesn’t include photo identification of the applicants, doesn’t say what part of Civic Center Park that they want to use and doesn’t describe arrangements for first aid and emergency medical services.
Grogan said the application also lacks any explanation of security arrangements and disagrees with the city’s “Hold Harmless Agreement.” In addition, Grogan said Cummings missed the deadline for using amplified sound.
“Given the totality of circumstances, we cannot issue a permit to you for the use of Civic Center Park on August 27, 2017. … Alternate dates may be considered if a complete application that addresses the deficiencies is timely received.”
Cummings didn’t respond Thursday to a request for her comment on the city’s denial of her permit application.
Cummings said on Tuesday that her planned event is simply an anti-Marxist rally and she doesn’t want white nationalists to attend.
But Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin said at a news conference on the steps of City Hall on Tuesday that he has characterized the event as a white nationalist rally because social media postings promoting it are filled with “hate-filled messages” and activists who engaged in violence at demonstrations in Berkeley earlier this year said they plan to attend.
Joining Arreguin and other local elected officials at the news conference, Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, said the rally “represents a fundamental challenge to our community values, regardless of how the organizers are characterizing it.”
In a posting on Facebook, Cummings said:
“In America we have Marxism being taught in our schools and communities. Berkeley is a ground zero for the Marxist Movement and we need to speak out and say NO to Marxism. … This event is our chance to speak out and expose the plan of purging our nation from a free nation to a communist nation. We will not tolerate this in America. So we are asking people to come stand against Marxism.”
“I do not invite or condone anyone showing up to this event with the intent of starting violence. I also want to add I do not stand with any racist groups like the KKK, Neo Nazis, or any form of racist groups. You are not welcome at this event and please stay away. … I myself am a transsexual female who embraces diversity and loves diversity. This event is not a event of hate speech it is a event about concerns of Marxism in America.”
“This event has people of all races, genders, and sexualities. This event is as diverse as it gets. We are all coming together in unification and to speak about the growing concern of Marxism.”