Black-clad "anti-fascist" protesters tangled with police in San Francisco during a 12,000-person "peace march" on Saturday.
The march was organized in response to a "free speech rally" that was supposed to take place at Crissy Field Beach, on the San Francisco Bay Saturday afternoon. The rally, planned by a group called "Patriot Prayer," was scrubbed at the last minute after organizer Joey Gibson claimed in a Facebook Live that he'd received death threats.
“It doesn’t seem safe, a lot of people’s lives are going to be in danger tomorrow,” Gibson told Unite America First. He blamed San Francisco's mayor Ed Lee and Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi for spreading "falsehoods" indicating that Gibson was a white supremacist and that he intended on holding an "alt-right" event similar to the one that took place a couple of weeks ago in Charlottesville.
Gibson, who is Asian-American, insisted to local media that he's not a white supremacist, telling Fox News that "his group disavows racism and hatred" and that he simply "wanted to promote dialogue with people who may not share its views."
Even if Gibson had wanted to hold the rally, he would not have been able to. In an effort to keep tensions to a minimum, San Francisco police cordoned off the planned rally site.
Thousands of counter-protesters showed up despite Gibson's cancellation, and took to the streets in a mostly peaceful demonstration that included everything from a drum circle to a yoga-for-peace event because the protest was taking place in San Francisco:
A group of protesters came dressed in costume while others held signs reading “No Hate” and “Black Lives Matter.” One individual banged on a drum while people danced nearby.
A few counter-protesters even engaged a number of "free speech rally" participants who showed up despite the cancellation. Although a few interactions involved shouting, San Francisco police say the discussions were mostly civil — a few even ended with hugs.
So, of course, leave it to Antifa to make things difficult.
By the end of the march, black-clad Antifa protesters had joined the peace rally and tangled with law enforcement, trying to get over metal barriers the police had put into place to contain the rally. Several "scuffles" broke out between police and protesters, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Police only made one arrest, however, and that was for public intoxication.
A similar rally, a "March Against Marxism" that was supposed to take place in Berkeley, California just across the bay, was also cancelled when organizers there said they felt "grave concerns" for their own safety.