Political News

Right-wing groups cancel San Francisco Bay Area rallies

Posted August 25

A man holds up a sign at a rally outside of City Hall in San Francisco, Friday, Aug. 25, 2017, ahead of politically conservative rallies scheduled this weekend. Concerned about possible violence, city officials have urged residents to stay away from other gatherings on Saturday and Sunday (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

— Two right-wing rallies planned for the weekend in the San Francisco Bay Area were canceled Friday, with organizers citing threats from left-wing agitators, but local officials said they remained concerned about the potential for violence.

A Saturday "freedom rally" planned near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco was canceled by the group Patriot Prayer, which said it would hold a news conference at a city park instead.

Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson said his followers would instead attend an anti-Marxist rally in nearby Berkeley on Sunday, but a short time later the organizer of that rally called it off.

"I am asking that no one come to my event," Amber Cummings said in a lengthy statement issued via Facebook. She said she had "grave concerns for the safety of the people attending my event."

Cummings said her rally was "to speak out against the political violence happening to people who do not agree" with left-wing ideology, and that the meaning was being lost as rhetoric around the rally escalated. However, she said she "alone" would still show up Sunday.

Mistrust remained high on both sides.

"We don't' trust this group. I never have from the beginning," San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said of Patriot Prayer.

Lee said the group had not canceled the event in writing, so police will still be there and anywhere else they need to be to keep the city safe.

Gibson said the rhetoric of Lee and other San Francisco leaders is what prompted fears for his group's safety and the cancellation of the rally, and has said the group disavows racism and hatred.

Lee urged counter-protesters to stay away from both places.

"I do believe there are provocateurs in those groups that are intentionally wanting to incite some level of violence," he said.

Tension over the gatherings had built in the two weeks since violence erupted at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. James Alex Fields Jr., 20, was charged with murder after driving a car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing a 32-year-old woman.

Gibson and Cummings insisted their gatherings would be peaceful but critics alleged they would be magnets for racists and others who would seek violence.

A number of counter protests were planned. The left-wing group By Any Means Necessary, which has been involved in violent confrontations, vowed to shut down the Berkeley rally.

Many groups in the city synonymous with the "Summer of Love" had planned to welcome their political opponents with unusual weekend protests, though it wasn't clear which of those would continue.

Plans included littering Crissy Field with dog poop, dispatching red-nosed clowns and a giant inflatable chicken that bears the hairstyle of President Donald Trump.

Also Friday, a judge ordered the jailing of a conservative organizer who has been scheduled to speak at the Patriot Prayer rally.

Kyle Chapman, a self-described "American nationalist" from nearby Daly City, was arrested and charged with possession of a weapon after authorities said he was seen on video hitting a counter-protester over the head with a billy club during a chaotic March 4 demonstration in Berkeley.

Chapman was ordered to stay 300 yards away from Sunday's rally.

Earlier in the day, hundreds of people rallied raucously and danced at City Hall. They held signs that read "Unite Against Hate" and cheered religious and elected officials who took the microphone to speak of love and champion diversity in a city that famously prides itself as a sanctuary for gays, minorities and people who are in the country illegally.

Hip-hop artist MC Hammer, who grew up in Oakland, railed against the hate that killed leaders in the 1960s, including President John F. Kennedy and Malcolm X.

"Hate is dangerous and we can't sit back and say, well, let them demonstrate it'll go away," he told the cheering crowd. "That's not the way hate operates so we have to stay on top of it and let it know it can't be comfortable here in our home."

7 Comments

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  • Kenneth Jones Aug 27, 3:52 p.m.
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    This is your quote!!! "Funny how people don't bother to get the facts before they blast the left. Nobody told these nazis they couldn't have their rallies." Did you bother to get the facts before you called these people Nazis? Of course not. You're on the "do as I say, not as I do" side of evil. Why is it right wing groups are the only ones calling for free speech rallies? Why is the left so against free speech, and what are you afraid of? You call patriots evil but defend actual marxist sympathizers... The actual number of KKK, white supremacist and nazis percentage wise would probably begin with .00% in the country. Is that something to be worried about? Do you really think they are coming to your house in the middle of the night? Lies don't matter to the left because you guys have absolutely no morals. "By any mean necessary", right?

  • John Archer Aug 27, 9:43 a.m.
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    Maybe you should actually bother to find out what the "left" is. You seem to conflate different groups as the same thing, kind of like if I called every one on the right nazis, or kkk, or right wing nuts. As with anything, there are extremists on both sides.

  • Tony Biancardi Aug 27, 3:19 a.m.
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    Maybe if there had been a more active "political left" in Germany in the 1930s, Hitler would never have come to power.

  • John Smith Aug 26, 10:19 p.m.
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    People blast the left because y'all have counter protest groups called "By Any Means Necessary" and cities like San Francisco,, which "prides itself as a sanctuary for people who are in the country illegally". Oh, lets not forget the Boston Antifa that said (paraphrased)"If you support the constitution of the United States, you're not welcome in Boston". Then when the left gets violent and gets arrested, y'all scream for charges to be dropped...but people like you see no problem with any of this?? When you can't see the problem, you're part of the problem.

  • John Archer Aug 26, 1:21 p.m.
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    Funny how people don't bother to get the facts before they blast the left. Nobody told these nazis they couldn't have their rallies. They were given the permits and everything. They just decided they had sour grapes over the fact that the counter-protesters were too far away and so they stomped and cried about it and canceled. They WANTED the violence of a counter-protest. If nobody shows up, then they have no audience for their hate.

  • Amy Whaley Aug 26, 10:12 a.m.
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    "We don't' trust this group. I never have from the beginning," San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said of Patriot Prayer.

    And the reporter doesn't ask why?

    This article is sickening, just another example of the intolerance, fear, and hate of the political left.

  • Jeffrey Derry Aug 26, 9:37 a.m.
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    San Francisco intolerant of differing viewpoints?