Right-wing rally in San Francisco canceled over fears of violence

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Organizers of a right-wing rally set for Saturday in San Francisco said they have canceled the event over fear of a "huge riot," as the nation remains on edge after a recent white nationalist demonstration that ended in bloodshed.

Joey Gibson, leader of the group Patriot Prayer, said Friday that members had been in contact with police and decided tomorrow's event "seems like a set up."

"It doesn't look safe, a lot of lives are going to be in danger," he said in a Facebook video, adding "In our opinion, it seems it would have been a huge riot."

He blamed local politicians and the media for drumming up fears by "saying that we are white supremacists."

Organizers said they would instead hold a press conference at the liberal city's Alamo Square Park at 2:00 pm (2100 GMT).

However, the city's mayor Ed Lee said on Twitter that no permits had been requested or granted for that location.

"Public safety is always our top priority. We are prepared for contingencies and spontaneous events," Lee said.

Another right-wing rally set for Sunday -- a "No to Marxism in America" rally in neighboring Berkeley -- was up in the air, with organizer Amber Cummings asking people not to come.

Police are nevertheless on watch in both locales, with counter-protests still possible.

The Bay Area events were to have followed racially charged violence earlier this month in Charlottesville, Virginia at a demonstration called by neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

That rally saw a woman killed after an avowed white supremacist rammed his car into a group of anti-racism counter-protesters.