Alt-right protesters hoping to wave their apparently beloved tiki torches at the Golden Gate Bridge will be disappointed this weekend, as San Francisco's top cop says the blazing staffs, among many other items including firearms, bikes, and selfie sticks, will be verboten at the controversial "Patriot Prayer" rally scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday at San Francisco's Crissy Field.
As reported Wednesday, Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) Acting General Superintendent Cicely Muldoon announced the event's approval, despite the opposition of both local and national officials. "The National Park Service has a long and proud tradition of being the site of peaceful expressions of people’s views under the First Amendment to the US Constitution which guarantees everyone the right to gather together and express their opinions non-violently," Muldoon said. "We cannot deny a permit to anyone planning to exercise their First Amendment rights based on their political stance or beliefs."
They can, however, set some pretty strict rules on what items will be allowed at the event. In a compendium amendment to the permit (which you can read here), the GGNRA says the following items will be prohibited at the rally:
A. Aerosols / pressurized canisters B. Ammunition C. Animals other than working service animals D. Any other items determined to be potential safety hazards E. Backpacks and bags exceeding the size restriction of 18” by 13” by 7” F. Balloons G. BBQ grills (propane tanks with any open flame) H. Bicycles I. Coolers J. Drones and other unmanned aircraft systems K. Explosives L. Firearms (including licensed concealed carry firearms) M. Gas Masks N. Glass, thermal or metal containers O. Helmets P. Laser pointers Q. Liquids (other than water in factory-sealed, clear plastic bottles) R. Mace / pepper spray S. Packages T. Pop up tents or canopies U. Selfie sticks V. Shields W. Signs exceeding the size restriction of 24” by 36” (Signs will only be allowed if made of foam core, cardboard or paper) X. Structures Y. Supports for signs and placards including sticks of any material Z. Sticks or bats of any nature composed of any material AA. Toy or replica guns BB. Wagons or carts that can be pulled CC. Weapons of any kind
In addition, the Examiner reports, San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott said at a Wednesday press conference that tiki torches are also forbidden at the event.
The prohibition on all those items covers all of what the GGNRA refers to as "Zone 1." That's an area, the Ex writes, that "extends from Marina Boulevard at the beginning of Crissy Field, by the Palace of Fine Arts, all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge, and goes as deep as the set of buildings along the shoreline — like the Sports Basement."
In a press release sent to media Thursday morning, the SFPD listed the banned items, and also said that:
The San Francisco Police Department is collaborating closely with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners to help facilitate First Amendment activity in a safe manner at each of these events. We are in contact with event organizers and are working with them to ensure a safe and peaceful day for everyone. The safety of the public is our top priority.
The Department has a comprehensive operational plan in place. While details of the plan are not for public release, those in attendance at these events can expect a large police presence of both uniformed and undercover officers. All available officers will be working- days off have been cancelled and no discretionary time off is being allowed.
The SFPD expects all who will be attending events on Saturday to act respectfully and responsibly. Anyone engaging in illegal behavior is subject to arrest and prosecution to the fullest extent of the law.
According to a statement from Muldoon sent Wednesday, inability to tote a wagon filled with Reddi-Whip will be the least of Zone 1 venturers' worries, as travel to the area will also be rough. "To ensure public safety, portions of the Presidio and many businesses within the park will be closed to the public on August 26," the GGNRA says, and "visitors to the Presidio are likely to experience traffic, road closures and other large event related impacts."
In fact, maybe don't visit at all, the GGNRA suggests. "We strongly encourage visitors who will not be attending the Patriot Prayer event to consider coming to the Presidio on another day," they write. And given the amount of dog leavings you'll be likely to encounter, that might be the best advice of all.