SAN FRANCISCO - San Francisco's mayor is urging people not to attend Saturday's Patriot Prayer Rally at Crissy Field, but to instead come to a counter-rally of sorts.
Mayor Ed Lee and other city leaders have denounced Saturday's event as hateful, warning that past rallies by the group have attracted White Supremacists and neo-Nazis.
In the wake of Charlottesville's deadly protest, and a similar raucous rally in Berkeley four months ago between so-called right-wingers and liberals, San Francisco city leaders are concerned Saturday's Patriot rally could turn violent.
"We remain opposed to the National Park Service issuing this permit to the prayer group. We think it's ill-advised, we don't think they're ready," said Mayor Ed Lee.
Mayor Lee and other city leaders said they will not dignify the Patriot rally participants by attending, but rather by inviting the public to a "counter-rally" Friday at City Hall at noon.
Then on Saturday at the same time, leaders have planned a city block party at Civic Center Plaza, complete with music, food and face painting for the children.
"The theme of this is peace,love and laughter, so that we don't end up with a confrontation at Crissy Field where people who are, frankly, haters and give them the violence that they're seeking 'cause that's really what they want," said San Francisco Supervisor Jeff Sheehy.
As of now, the National Park Service has not issued a final permit for the Patriot rally which is slated to be held on federal land.
"I think it was a deliberate choice in choosing federal land for this to happen because there's a difference between concealed weapons in federal and state... and we're insisting that no weapons be allowed," said Lee.
KTVU called the media line to receive an update but we were unable to reach anyone. "The mailbox is full and cannot accept any messages at this time," sounded the voicemail.
Whether the permit is issued or not, police are prepared.
"As of now now, days off are not being allowed and days off have been canceled basically every available officer will be working on Saturday," said Sgt Mike Andraychek, SFPD.
One concern is that if the Park Service revokes Saturday's permit, Patriot followers will show up anyway.
"I think the most tumultuous thing that could happen is that people could act on their very deep passions hate and that's certainly something that we will be espousing against," said Lee.
"We can come together as San Franciscans with our values and with so many more of us than there are them," reiterated Sheehy.