After scheduling an impromptu "news conference" for 2 p.m. Saturday to replace the canceled Patriot Prayer rally in Crissy Field, organizer Joey Gibson was thwarted by the SFPD and Rec & Parks Saturday morning when they fenced off all four sides of the park and are refusing to allow any conferences or rallies to occur there. As the Chronicle reports, hundreds of counter-protesters had already shown up on the sidewalks beside the park by 10:30 a.m., and park rangers were announcing through bullhorns that everyone needed to leave.
Update: As of 11:30 a.m., streets have been blocked off on all sides of Alamo Square and marchers are working their way up Fillmore and Divisadero, but are being kept away from the park itself. Only residents of the neighborhood are being permitted within a block of the park.
Gibson spoke to KRON 4 Saturday and said that he believed people would still be showing up to Crissy Field, but "on their own," and he would not be leading any rally there or elsewhere.
He further said that he would be having an indoor news conference at a location TBA at 2 p.m., and that he planned to be around to "talk to people and the press" at various locations in the city. “I feel like everything’s kind of out of my control right now,” he said.
Gibson has consistently appeared not to understand that by attempting to organize a rally at all in a liberal enclave like San Francisco, regardless of how he defines his amorphous but conservative/libertarian views, he is only inviting a showdown between far-right zealots and left-wing activists, and potentially creating a dangerous situation for everyone. Throughout the past two weeks he has tried to make clear that his is not a white supremacist group, and that he is mostly "anti-antifa" and pro "free speech," however this has mostly fallen on deaf ears given that a rally titled "Unite the Right" became an excuse for a show of force, and a waving of weapons, by militia groups and extremists, ultimately costing one woman her life.
Like Amber Gwen Cummings, a planned speaker at the Patriot Prayer event and the organizer of a similar rally tomorrow in Berkeley, while saying they espouse a philosophy of non-violence, he has appeared at rallies with a holstered weapon and has created situations in the past in Portland and Seattle where violence occurs between activists on either side and another planned speaker, Kyle Chapman, has said in public speeches that he believes the country will only be saved by patriots willing to do physical battle in the streets, and risk their lives.
It was further revealed Friday that Cummings had partnered with Chapman in July to sell signed sticks and shields for $50 each.
Counter-demonstrations are still occurring today in Dolores Park, Civic Center, the Castro, and possibly Crissy Field.
And the Berkeley rally may still be happening in some form, although Cummings dramatically told the Chronicle Friday night, "It will be me alone attending, no one else please. In the event I am hurt or killed attending this rally, I ask you to please not retaliate on each other as a result of my injuries. Let my life be the last one lost."