Two right-wing "free speech" rallies planned for San Francisco and Berkeley, California were cancelled on Saturday.
The rally in Berkeley, titled "No to Marxism in America," was cancelled after a California judge denied the organizer's permit for the weekend demonstration. The cancellation came almost immediately after a similar rally planned for Saturday in San Francisco was called off.
The "freedom rally" in San Francisco was called off by the event's organizer. The cancellation came after one of the event's speakers, Kyle Chapman, was arrested and charged with possession of a weapon after authorities said he was seen on video hitting a counter-protester over the head with a billy club.
Dog walkers were planning to protest the politically conservative free-speech rally by leaving pup poop at San Francisco's Crissy Field, where the event was to be held. A Facebook page encouraged protesters to let their dogs loose Friday and Saturday morning at the park near the Golden Gate Bridge and not pick up after them. The page assured dog owners that they would come together Sunday to clean up the field of feces and "hug each other."
The organizer of the Berkley rally, Andrea Cummings, released a statement Friday afternoon urging people not to come to her "No to Marxism in America" rally in Berkeley on Sunday. She said she was concerned for the safety of the people who might come to the event. Cummings, who identifies herself as a transgender patriot, planned the event on social media and has worn sunglasses or covered her face with a bandanna when speaking about the event.
Counter-demonstrations were planned for both of the now-cancelled rallies, and city leaders worried violence would break out.
Mayors in both cities say the two groups invite hate.
San Francisco's mayor said he doesn't trust a right-wing group that says it's canceling a rally in the city on Saturday.
Mayor Ed Lee said Friday night that despite organizers saying it's called off, they have not cancelled the event in writing so the city is proceeding as though it's still happening.
Lee said, "We don't trust this group. I never have from the beginning."
He also urged people not to show up at the news conference the group plans to hold instead of the rally, but said police would be there and at the rally site.
Patriot Prayer head Joey Gibson said the rhetoric of Lee and other San Francisco leaders is what prompted the cancellation.
Gibson has said the group disavows racism and hatred.
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