Activists poised for more rallies
Right-wing groups, foes to face off in wake of Va. clashes
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.