After the violent “Unite the Right” rally that took place earlier this month in Charlottesville,Virginia, which was condemned by much of the country, a number of ultra-conservative groups began to plan rallies meant to celebrate their right to free speech. One of those rallies, the “Patriot Prayer,” was supposed to take place on Saturday afternoon at Crissy Field in San Francisco. However, on Friday night, the founder of the Patriot Prayer group, Joey Gibson, announced that the rally was canceled.
Gibson said in a Facebook live video about the decision:
‘We’re not going to have a rally at Crissy Field. It doesn’t seem safe. A lot of people’s lives are going to be in danger tomorrow.
‘After several conversations with the police and understanding the situation of what’s going on, we’ve decided that tomorrow really seems like a setup. We decided to go ahead and take the opportunity to not fall into that trap.’
Instead of the rally, the group decided to hold a “news conference” at another location.
In the video, Gibson and other organizers of the event blamed everyone from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) to counter-protesters for the cancellation. Will Johnson, one of the organizers, said that counter-protesters were going to bring violence to what would have been a peaceful event.
‘We could have had this rally tomorrow, and it would have been peaceful. Not a single person wants to fight. They are bringing the violence.’
While far-right conservatives held their “news conference,” hundreds of protesters showed up to celebrate their victory. The Los Angeles Times said about the turnout:
‘Droves of counter-demonstrators, anti-fascists and other protesters filled the streets around Alamo Square Park, then marched through the Mission District with blaring party music as they fired off chants in opposition to the Trump administration, white supremacy and the violence that plagued Charlottesville, Va., during a rally earlier this month.’
The Los Angeles Times spoke to some of the protesters who explained that they showed up to take a stand against white supremacy.
One protester said:
‘We’re here to stand up to white supremacy. This is just one day. There’s white supremacy in our everyday lives.’
‘This is a victory rally! This is a victory over white supremacy.’
Photos and videos from the celebratory protest have been making the rounds on social media.
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) August 26, 2017
— Lizzie Johnson (@lizziejohnsonnn) August 26, 2017
The response to the rally has been mostly positive, but some have criticized those who gathered today, echoing Johnson’s words and saying that the counter-protesters were actually encouraging violence.
Featured image via Twitter.