San Francisco's Alamo Park Swarmed by Counter-Protesters After Right-Wing Rally Cancelled

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A police officer holds a line as counter-demonstrators rally near Alamo Square ahead of a news conference by the organizers of the cancelled alt-right Patriot Prayer rally on August 26, 2017 in San Francisco, California. Originally planned to be held at Crissy Field, the rally and the subsequent news conference were cancelled by organizers citing safety concerns as various groups were expected to counter demonstrate against the controversial event while city officials continue preparing for any possible unrest. Getty Images/Stephen Lam

Counter-protesters converged on San Francisco’s Alamo Square Saturday afternoon even after local officials had called off a planned and permit-granted protest by right-wing group Patriot Prayer the day before.

But the coordinator of Patriot Prayer’s event, Joey Gibson, also said he would hold a news conference at 2 p.m. local time and “pop up” at various locations around the city, according to the San Francisco Examiner. The conference was subsequently canceled.

The San Francisco Police Department, however, did advise on its official Twitter account for people to stay away from the area. Police had also ordered the crowd to disperse.

 

With a sign hung by a resident across from the square reading “Love Trumps Hate,” meant to invoke President Donald Trump’s name after his reactions and statements to the violent August 12 clash in Charlottesville, Virginia that resulted in one person’s death and more than a dozen people injured, the counter-protesters on the scene remained peaceful and even prided themselves on social media remaining in that peaceful state.

The scene was similar to last weekend’s counter-protesting in Boston, where thousands gathered to condemn a planned First Amendment rally that ultimately drowned out anyone affiliated with hate groups.

The counter-protesters lined up and began to march down one of the city’s busiest streets and neighborhoods.

The city and the police department had prepared for protests by erecting a chain-link fence around the park, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, and had also set up barriers to keep protesters away from residential streets with a “one-block buffer zone.”

"The San Francisco Police Department has an enhanced presence at Alamo Square and in the surrounding neighborhoods," a police spokesperson told The Chronicle. "We will continue to evaluate situations as they evolve and make decisions based on the safety of the public.”