A planned rally in Crissy Field by alt-right group Patriot Prayer that is likely to attract extremist and white supremacist elements has sparked plenty of emotion in San Francisco over the last few days. We first learned that the event, announced on Facebook and planned for August 26, had been granted a permit by the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA), which is overseen by the National Park Service, however that doesn't not appear to be completely the case.
In a statement Wednesday evening, GGNRA Acting General Superintendent Cicely Muldoon said that she and the agency "have heard and take very seriously the concerns expressed by the public and elected officials" regarding the planned rally, and "Our highest priority is to ensure public safety, while honoring our obligation to uphold one of our nation’s most cherished Constitutional rights, the First Amendment right to freedom of speech."
She said further that the National Park Service "must be deliberative and not preemptive in our decisions related to First Amendment gatherings," and the GGNRA and the U.S. Park Police "are closely coordinating with other federal, state and local agencies to ensure a robust plan is in place before we issue a final permit [for the event]."
Anyone who wants to chime in on the subject is welcomed to email [email protected].
Muldoon says they will take the next seven business days to make the final decision on the permit, based on a "thorough public safety review."
Organizer Joey Gibson from Patriot Prayer has been responding to multiple news outlets this week and denying that he has any affiliation with white supremacy. He tells the Examiner in a new interview that he identifies with many moderates on the left and supports gay rights and "being against the drug war." Also, he says that only "moderates" will be permitted to speak at the August 26 event, and "If there’s a permit we’re going to keep as many hateful people out as possible. I constantly promote love. In love, you don’t see skin color. I’m trying to focus on who people are on the inside."
Still, he says, security on his end will be provided members of the far-right militia group the Oath Keepers, and that concealed weapons may be present.
All the more reason to not give anyone the satisfaction of a photo op of a battle in front of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Via an SFist reader, we learn today that the GGNRA says they are planning to make all attendees at the Crissy Field event "pass through a magnetometer," and guns will not be allowed at the event.