Alt-right rabble-rousers get their ‘Free Speech Rally’ permit for Saturday, but it’s at Civic Center

Alt-right rabble-rousers get their ‘Free Speech Rally’ permit for Saturday, but it’s at Civic Center
Image: Team Save America
By Joe Kukura - Published on October 16, 2020.

Anyone who follows the news of the ongoing alt-right vs. antifa antagonism may have noticed our report this week some manner of wingnut “Free Speech Rally” was planned for Dolores Park on Saturday, but lacked permits, and seemed perhaps more of a bluff. But SFist did some due diligence on the claim today, and found that the “Free Speech Rally Against Twitter and Big Tech” has been granted a Rec & Parks permit for Saturday, though their gathering place has been switched to the Civic Center UN Plaza area, conveniently close to the Twitter headquarters.

Rec & Parks confirmed the permit, and the latest DPH guidance does allow for political protests “involving no more than 50 people total.”

"The First Amendment ensures the right to assemble for everyone and the permit process is in place to allow for planning, to minimize disruptions and to create basic safety measures," SF Rec & Parks spokesperson Tamara Aparton told SFist. "The San Francisco Police Department will be implementing all safety measures for this event."

The speaker line-up is a Who’s Who of people with “This account is temporarily restricted” status on Twitter, or those have already been booted off the platform. (Likely a badge of honor among this set.) The apparent leader of this organization “Team Save America” is African American anti-BLM activist Philip Anderson, though the only names a local is likely to recognize are repeated fringe mayoral candidates Starchild and Ellen Lee Zhou.

The yahoos are surely energized by Thursday’s brief Twitter suspension of a Trump campaign account, a further rallying cry that big tech is “silencing conservatives." They are probably further energized after Trump himself fell for a satirical hoax article on Babylon Bee that Thursday’s Twitter outage was somehow related to the Hunter Biden-New York Post affair

Image via @LCRWnews

But as seen in the Twitter screenshot above, Saturday’s protest may not be the most thoroughly organized proceeding.

It’s a fair bet that counterprotestors will outnumber actual protesters, as an attempt to provoke the ultraconservatives has been publicized on social media by Berkeley Antifa and celebrated local rapper Equipto

And it may be best to simply avoid this entanglement altogether. While the Team Save American website does vow that “All participants during the rally are expected to bring a face covering and practice social distancing,” the tweet above from billed rally participant Louie Huey indicates that these gatherings might not exactly follow the strictest protocols.