Ac­tivists poised for more ral­lies

Right-wing groups, foes to face off in wake of Va. clashes

The Commercial Appeal - - Front Page -

USA TODAY SAN FRAN­CISCO Nearly two weeks after the death of a coun­ter­protester at a white su­prem­a­cist rally in Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia, ac­tivists in Cal­i­for­nia and Ten­nessee are gear­ing up against right-wing and con­ser­va­tive groups in their own home­towns.

Ral­lies that are be­ing billed by some as right-wing or white su­prem­a­cist are be­ing planned this week­end for San Fran­cisco, Berke­ley and Knoxville, Ten­nessee, though the Cal­i­for­nia or­ga­niz­ers say that’s a mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion of their events.

Joey Gib­son, or­ga­nizer of Pa­triot Prayer’s “Free­dom Rally San Fran­cisco,” said his group has been un­fairly bunched in with racist groups such as Unite the Right — the group be­hind the fa­tal Char­lottesville rally. He main­tains that his group is a mod­er­ate one, de­spite be­ing called out by the South­ern Poverty Law Cen­ter, which mon­i­tors hate groups.

Cal­i­for­nia Sen. Dianne Fe­in­stein and House Mi­nor­ity Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called the Free­dom Rally a white su­prem­a­cist rally. Fe­in­stein called for the Na­tional Park Ser­vice to deny the per­mit for the rally, which is be­ing held on Chrissy Field in San Fran­cisco’s Ma­rina district.

When the Golden Gate Na­tional Re­cre­ation Area granted the per­mit to the group, San Fran­cisco Mayor Ed­win Lee said in a let­ter to the parks’ su­per­in­ten­dent that he was out­raged.

“San Fran­cisco has a long and sto­ried his­tory of cham­pi­oning free­dom of ex­pres­sion ... but as we have wit­nessed in re­cent months, these types of ral­lies can quickly turn hate­ful and vi­o­lent with tragic con­se­quences,” Lee said in the let­ter re­leased Aug. 15.

Lee called for a ban on weapons at the event. But be­cause the rally is be­ing held on fed­eral land, that might not be pos­si­ble.

Not all protests this week­end touch on the theme of racial supremacy. In honor of the an­niver­sary of Women’s Suf­frage, the “In­di­vis­i­ble March” hopes to unite women across the coun­try in a se­ries of marches planned in ev­ery state.

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