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Mayor: San Francisco Chased Out Hate With Love

Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP

Joey Gibson of the group Patriot Prayer, center, speaks at a news conference in Pacifica, Calif, Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017. Officials took steps to prevent violence ahead of a planned news conference by the right-wing group.

Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP

6:15 p.m.: San Francisco's mayor said Saturday's protests against a right-wing "freedom rally" that never happened were peaceful celebrations of love.

Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson and other scheduled speakers at the rally said at a news conference that Democratic Mayor Ed Lee wrongly labeled them as a hate group, needlessly raising tensions and stirring emotions in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Lee defended his characterization of the group and the city's response, which included ordering all available police officers to duty.

He said that "certain voices" will find it difficult to be heard in San Francisco, and that people who want to speak need to have a message that "contributes to people's lives rather than find ways to hurt them."

San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott said there was one arrest Saturday for public intoxication.


2:15 p.m.: An organizer for a right-wing group that had planned a rally in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge pleaded for unity while blasting Democratic leaders in San Francisco for stifling his speech.

Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson spoke Saturday in a park in the small city of Pacifica, a suburb of San Francisco, after changing the location and format of the event several times.

He was among half a dozen speakers who initially planned to speak at the rally.

They ended the event abruptly when they heard members of an anti-fascist movement were headed to Pacifica, saying they didn't want violence.

Gibson said he downgraded the rally to a news conference elsewhere in the city because he feared civic leaders and police would fail to protect the group. He later moved it to Pacifica without widely broadcasting the location.

Earlier in the week, Mayor Ed Lee and others voiced concerns that the group would spark hate and violence, which Gibson denies.

Fellow speaker Will Johnson, who is African American, said he is obviously not a white supremacist and was frustrated about the use of the term in connection with Patriot Prayer and the rally.


12:15 p.m.: Hundreds of people are marching around San Francisco's Alamo Square park holding signs condemning white supremacists and chanting,  "Whose streets? Our streets!"

Police in riot gear lined up Saturday along a fence erected at the park after the right-wing group Patriot Prayer said it planned to hold a news conference at the location.

However, the group later said the news conference would be held indoors. No further details were provided.

Mayor Ed Lee has denounced the group as inviting hate. Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson has denied that his group is racist.


10:50 a.m.: The organizer of a news conference by a right-wing group that had been planned for a San Francisco park now says the event will be held indoors.

Joey Gibson of the group Patriot Prayer did not provide a location or further details. He also said Saturday in a Facebook post that he would pop up at random sites throughout the city to speak with residents.

The move came as officials erected fencing at Alamo Square park and a large contingent of police monitored the location to prevent possible violence.

People were stopped from entering the park.


9:30 a.m.: San Francisco officials have erected a fence around a park where a right-wing group known as Patriot Prayer plans a news conference.

Police were screening people as they enter Alamo Square park on Saturday morning. Patriot Prayer's news conference is scheduled there later in the day.

The event is a late substitute for a now-canceled rally near the Golden Gate Bridge that was supposed to happen about the same time.

City leaders say they fear an impromptu rally will occur in its place, or that unrest and violence may break out at the news conference at Alamo Park.


11 p.m.: The late cancellation of two weekend political rallies in the San Francisco Bay Area has done little to stem fears of unrest and violence.

On Saturday, a right-wing group known as Patriot Prayer has a news conference planned for a San Francisco park. The event is a late substitute for a major rally near the Golden Gate Bridge that was supposed to happen at about the same time.

The larger event was canceled on Friday, but city leaders say they don't trust the group, and fear an impromptu rally will appear in its place, or that unrest and violence may break out at the news conference at Alamo Park.

Another right-wing rally planned for Berkeley on Sunday was also canceled late Friday.

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