SAN FRANCISCO: Feds Greenlight Saturday Hate Rally

The San Francisco Chronicle reports:

The National Park Service said Wednesday that a controversial right-wing rally will be allowed to go forward Saturday at park-managed Crissy Field in San Francisco and advised the public to steer clear.

Golden Gate National Recreation Area Acting General Superintendent Cicely Muldoon said the park service had no choice but to honor the free speech rights of event applicant Patriot Prayer, despite concern from city officials that the afternoon demonstration will draw far-right extremists and counterprotesters and turn violent in similar fashion to an Aug. 12 event in Charlottesville, Va.

The park service, which said it has also approved a handful of permits for counterprotests over the weekend, has been meeting with San Francisco police and park service officials from across the country to try to ensure a robust security plan. Parts of the Presidio will be closed to visitors during the rally, officials said.

San Francisco’s NBC affiliate reports:

At a news conference Wednesday, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said, “I remain deeply disappointed and opposed to the issuance of this permit.” Although Crissy Field, being federal land, lies outside the city’s jurisdiction, Lee said, “We are responsible and feel responsible for everyone’s public safety, particularly residents of San Francisco.”

Lee also urged residents and visitors to the San Francisco Bay Area to “not diginify people who are coming in here under the guise of ‘patriot’ and ‘prayer’ words to really preach violence and hatred, and incite violence. Avoid going to Crissy Field and engaging with members of Patriot Prayer because that is precisely what they wish us to do.”

Multiple counter-protests are planned across the city, far from Crissy Field, including an LGBT-centric protest to begin at noon in the Castro’s Harvey Milk Plaza.

There’s also this:

The Jewish Bar Association of San Francisco picked up nearly $112,000 worth of support for its unconventional opposition of a right-wing rally at Crissy Field.

A GoFundMe campaign titled “Adopt-a-Nazi (Not Really)” aims to protest Patriot Prayer’s Freedom Rally San Francisco by raising money for the Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit activist group that tracks civil rights, hate crimes and combats extremist groups.

The idea came from Cody Harris, a boardmember of the JBASF, which, according to a news release represents “500 attorneys and businesspersons of different races, backgrounds, and ethnicities” in the Bay Area.

The San Jose Mercury News reports:

All eyes are now on Patriot Prayer, the Oregon-based right-wing outfit led by founder Joey Gibson. His group in the past has organized other events that have attracted white supremacists and ended up in violent confrontations among demonstrators on both sides.

While organizers with the group have strived to distance themselves from neo-Nazis and other hate groups, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi doesn’t buy it, denouncing their San Francisco event as a “white supremacist” rally; asked about the federal government’s permit for the group to use Crissy Field, Pelosi said “now they’re going to give it as a venue to Nazis and white nationalists.”

Under the conditions of the rally permit, no guns, ammunition, helmets or backpacks will be allowed on site. On its Facebook page, Patriot Prayer says its group “is about using the power of love and prayer to fight the corruption both in the government and citizen levels that seek to gain power through division and deception.”