Bay Area Stands with Charlottesville and Overwhelms Trump’s White Supremacist Friends

Resumen Latinoamericano North American Bureau on August 27, 2017

Berkeley Civic Center. Photo: Bill Hackwell

As was the case yesterday in San Francisco, a much publicized rally by Trump supporting white supremacists was met by thousands of progressive forces who converged on Berkeley California Civic Center sending the few neo Nazis who came scurrying down the street under police protection.

A few blocks away is where the University of California is located and also where in the 1960’s the free speech movement was born. What transpired today was a large diverse response that clarified free speech is for different points of view and does not apply to any hate mongering racist ideology whose sole purpose is to terrorize Blacks, Latinos, Muslims, immigrants, LGBTQ, Jewish people etc.

Some of the Trump supporters who showed up tried to make a distinction between their support for Trump and white supremacy. After Trump expressed his solidarity with the assorted white supremacist, lovers of the KKK who came to Charlottesville this narrative was met with swift resistance.

An enormous police presence from every city in the East Bay was called in and checked anyone coming into the park for weapons, no sticks on poles were allowed and no one could even bring in water on an unusually hot day. Somehow the Trump followers who frequent these rallies do not act quite as tough as they do when they can come armed to the teeth. The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that 14 people were arrested.

Today’s right wing gathering entitled an ‘Anti Marxist Rally’ had their permit revoked two days ago by City Hall after relentless pressure from people living in the East Bay. In the past these ‘more moderate’ sounding events have provided cover for the most violent right wing groups and the progressive demonstrators did not think for a moment that they were not going to show up today.

Below is a detailed report on the San Francisco protest

San Francisco Sent the White Supremacists Packing Today

By Tim Redmond on August 26, 2017

August 26, 2017

Joey Gibson and his Patriot Prayer cancelled his rally at Crissy Field, saying he was afraid of violence (after the police made it clear that they would not allow any weapons and would search everyone at the lone entrance to the park).

Then he said he would hold a press conference at Alamo Square at 2pm — but the cops closed and fenced that park off, and by 11:30, hundreds and hundreds of protesters were showing up.

The impromptu rally, called on Facebook and organized in part by Mission activist and City College professor Benjamin Bac Sierra, soon attracted a huge crowd, at least 5,000 by my count and possibly many more.

“This is amazing,” Bac Sierra told me as we watched the throngs of people go by. “This is historic.”The crowd marched peacefully through the Mission, with music and chants. “We are celebrating victory,” he said.

And indeed, it appeared that — with no violence or threats of violence — activists in San Francisco convinced the white supremacists that this was not a good place to hold a rally. Gibson tried to livestream a press conference, but hardly anyone watched it, and his colleague, Kyle Chapman, who has been charged with beating protesters with a lead-loaded cane, seemed to get the message.

According to the Mercury News, Chapman said that, “I think the best game plan moving forward is for us to take a break on rallies in liberal enclaves like Berkeley and San Francisco … and focus on rallies where we have a definite chance of a win.”

Several of the speakers at Alamo Square noted that city officials have tried to keep protesters from confronting the far right. In Boston, the mayor urged everyone to stay away from a white supremacist rally — but 40,000 showed up anyway, and forced the neo-Nazis to leave.

In San Francisco, Mayor Ed Lee tried to keep people away from Crissy Field, going so far as to cut off most Muni service to the area. Paul Rose, a Muni spokesperson, told me that, “ Safety will always be our top priority and this transportation plan was developed to keep Muni riders and transit staff as safe as possible.”

But I heard endless complaints from people who said they wanted to show up to challenge Gibson’s crew but were frustrated that they wouldn’t be able to get there.

At first, the official line was to keep people from Alamo Square, too: Cops fenced off the entire park and surrounded it, and at one point early on tried to declare the rally an unlawful assembly.

But people kept showing up anyway, and eventually the police brass decided to back down. They closed off the surrounding streets, opened up the intersection of Hayes and Steiner, and allowed the throng to fill Hayes all the way down the hill to Fillmore.

Around 12:30, Bac Sierra announced that the rally would move through the Mission to 24th St, and as I stood by the side of the road, marchers kept coming. More and more seemed to arrive by the minute. As soon as one wave seemed to be thinning out, another would arrive.

The march through the mission attracted many thousands

I don’t think I’ve ever seen this many people in a march that was organized in just a few hours.

By 2pm, we were hearing that Gibson had moved his show to Pacifica.

The mayor held an official anti-hate rally at City Hall, which was fairly well attended, as was a rally organized by Cleve Jones and Juanita Moore in the Castro that drew several thousand. Jones, who is using the neo-Nazi rallies to raise money for local anti-fascist causes, even had an airplane flying overhead with a banner announcing that his No Hate in SF campaign has already raised $130,000.

Source: 48 hills