San Francisco braced on Friday for a weekend of protests, including a rally by an Oregon-based group that local leaders labeled “white supremacist” as the city’s mayor urged residents to boycott the event.
The demonstrations planned for Friday, Saturday and Sunday across the Bay Area raised concern among San Francisco police and elected officials two weeks after right-wing activists, including neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan, fought with anti-racism protesters in the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia.
The Saturday event is billed as a “free speech” rally, but critics say the Oregon-based organizers, Patriot Prayer, is a white nationalist group, pointing to plans that may include the far-right Oath Keepers providing armed security. The group has decried racism and neo-Nazis.
In San Francisco, city officials including Mayor Ed Lee had 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 on Wednesday, Lee told residents of San Francisco to essentially boycott the rally.