“Let us in!”
“Resist the right!”
These were the chants heard as hundreds gathered in San Francisco for a demonstration against a right-wing rally that was cancelled, in addition to a news conference planned by the organizer, that was also called off.
The “Freedom Rally” was canceled due to safety concerns — many fearing a spillover of white nationalist violence that had occurred in Charlottesville earlier this month.
Despite the cancelled events, protesters, under the watch of U.S. Park Police, showed up to send the message that “white supremacists are unwelcome in San Francisco”, one told the LA Times.
"We're here to stand up to white supremacy. This is just one day," said another protester. "There's white supremacy in our everyday lives."
"This is a victory rally!" shouted another demonstrator, as he spoke to the crowds.
Joey Gibson, founder of the pro-Trump Patriot Prayer group and the organizer of the Freedom Rally, said the event — alongside a similar one planned on Sunday in nearby Berkeley, dubbed the “No to Marxism in America” protest — were being cancelled because of threats of violence from counter-demonstrators.
Gibson also told the LA Times that his group does not believe in white supremacy and that he feared cooptation of his event by “extreme or racist figures”.
For activists from the city and elsewhere, the cancellations have been welcomed.
“Wow, it sounds like we’re having success ahead of time," said Shanta Driver, the Chicago-based counsel for By Any Means Necessary.
Driver said the cancellations let “white nationalists know they are a tiny minority in America, and there was absolutely no way they could rally in the city of San Francisco.”