San Francisco wants conservative rally, counterprotest miles apart in hopes of avoiding violent clashSAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — KRON4 is less than a week away from a so-called Freedom Rally at Crissy Field, which city officials say is sponsored by the alt-right.
And while the United States Park Service still has not made a final decision about issuing the group called “Patriot Prayer,” a permit, San Francisco is still making plans for counterprotests, which are slated for another location.
In hopes of preventing a repeat of the Charlottesville clash between white supremacists and their opponents, the City of San Francisco is planning to host two counterprotests at Civic Center Plaza, more than 4 miles away from Patriot Prayer’s Crissy Field rally that’s set for Saturday afternoon.
“We think that will help by not engaging and therefore dignifying the Patriot’s movements and their hate message and their violent message,” San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said. “We think that’s the best alternative.”
On Monday, the mayor met behind closed doors with a cross-section of San Francisco leaders as well as event organizers.
The plans call for a political rally Friday at noon on the steps of City Hall, so residents can speak out on the issues of race and hate.
The Saturday at noon rally is more of a family event titled San Francisco Peacefully Unites Against White Nationalists.
“For people who want to express alternative principles, inclusion, love, all the values that I think are valuable and reflect San Francisco values,” Lee said.
“The day will begin with music and no political rallies,” Grace Lutheran Church Pastor Megan Rohrer said. “A place that’s safe for kids, and there will be lots of events around the space.”
While this event and the other are set for the Civic Center, there are still at least two groups that plan to show up at Crissy field and face off against hate groups saying, “The time for passive tolerance is over.”
San Francisco’s police chief has been advising the National Park Service about ways to keep the Crissy field event safe should they issue final approval.
“The foremost condition on any permit, if they are insistent on issuing one, is no weapons concealed or otherwise,” Lee said.