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Washington August 17, 2017 – Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) called on the National Park Service to deny Patriot Prayer, an organization affiliated with white nationalists and other hate groups, a permit to hold a rally at Crissy Field in San Francisco.
“According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Patriot Prayer attracts white nationalists and other hate groups to its rallies with the intent to provoke unrest between those groups and counter-protesters,” Senator Feinstein wrote. “I am alarmed at the prospect that Crissy Field will be used as a venue for Patriot Prayer’s incitement, hate, and intimidation.”
Full text of the letter follows:
August 16, 2017
Golden Gate National Recreation Area
Golden Gate National Parks Building 201
Fort Mason, San Francisco, CA 94123
Dear Superintendent Muldoon:
As we discussed on our call yesterday, I strongly oppose the Golden Gate Recreation Area’s decision to grant an event permit to Patriot Prayer for an August 26 demonstration at Crissy Field. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Patriot Prayer attracts white nationalists and other hate groups to its rallies with the intent to provoke unrest between those groups and counter-protesters. I am alarmed at the prospect that Crissy Field will be used as a venue for Patriot Prayer’s incitement, hate, and intimidation.
As you know, Crissy Field is a public recreational area, which draws hundreds of families who enjoy the beach, trails, and picnic areas each weekend. Because of Crissy Field’s open design—with beaches, open grassy areas, and no fences—the proposed demonstration poses very real threats to the public should the protest devolve into racial violence and clashes with law enforcement.
While I understand from you that the U.S. Park Police is working with other law enforcement agencies to assess the public safety risk, I believe there is a strong potential for violence during this demonstration. I was mayor of San Francisco for nine years. I know the area well, and I know the very significant challenges an event like this at Crissy Field will pose for law enforcement. In fact, Patriot Prayer’s recent demonstrations in Seattle and Portland both involved physical altercations, resulting in several arrests.
Given this track record, there is a very real potential that Patriot Prayer will use its permit to demonstrate at Crissy Field as a free pass to incite violence. That is not what Crissy Field is about, and I urge you to reconsider your decision to issue this permit in the name of public safety.
United States Senator