Anti-Free Speech Protesters Rally in San Francisco
Hundreds of anti-Free Speech protesters rallied near a barricaded San Francisco park Saturday despite the cancellation of a Free-Speech gathering that city leaders feared could draw Antifa extremists.
The planned gathering by Patriot Prayer was to be the centerpiece of a weekend of protests in the Bay Area that had raised concern among police and elected officials 2 weeks after activists, including fought with Antifa protesters in the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia.
Patriot Prayer founder Joey Gibson denied that his group is extremist or white nationalist.
Saturday, he wrote on Facebook he would show up at random spots in the city to talk to residents. He apologized to supporters who came for the cancelled event.
“Basically everywhere we go, the police, the city, they want to shut it down,” Mr. Gibson said in a video posted on Facebook.
San Francisco city officials including Mayor Ed Lee 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 Wednesday, Mayor Lee told residents of San Francisco to avoid the rally.
In nearby Berkeley, officials earlier in the week had denied a permit for conservative activists to hold a “No to Marxism” rally Sunday.
San Francisco police officers put p barricades separating the 2 sides. One organizer carried a sign reading, “Stand Against Leftist Hate” to the hisses and boos of the anti-Free Speech’rs.
An unidentified woman was arrested when she attempted to crash into the protest late Saturday afternoon, according to local media.