In Light of Safety Concerns, Dance Rally Moves to Dolores

A crowd dances to a parody of Lorde's 'Royals' with lyrics about the environment at the People's Climate march in Oakland, April 29, 2017. (Estefany Gonzalez)

The risk of potential gun violence has led to the relocation of one counter-protest taking place this Saturday.

As of Aug. 20, the LovedUp Mobile Dance Rally — a counter-protest that will be held in response to a rally held by the alt-right group Patriot Prayer this Saturday — is being moved to Dolores Park.

Taking cues from WERK for Peace — the queer artist-protester collective that has held dance parties on the doorsteps of Ivanka Trump and Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's homes — the Mobile Dance Rally was originally planned to take place in Marina Green Park, two miles away from the rally at Crissy Field.

Crissy Field is designated as a National Park, which permit the open carry of firearms on park grounds. California state law, however, only allows for the concealed carry of firearms with a permit.

Its close proximity to the Patriot Prayer event, according to the Dance Rally coordinators, poses a risk to counter-protesters who may be in attendance. Nearly 10,000 people have expressed interest in attending the protest on Facebook.

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“We do not believe the security situation will be similar to Boston and there is a strong possibility of gun violence,” wrote the coordinators of the Dance Rally in a Facebook post.

The relocation also comes after a non-violent counter-protest of a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia on Aug. 12. One individual, 32-year old activist and paralegal Heather Heyer, died, while 19 others were injured after noted neo-Nazi James Alex Fields, Jr.  drove through the counter-protest site in his Dodge Challenger.

A similar Patriot Prayer event held in Seattle last week following the tragedy in Charlottesville was largely nonviolent, according to a report from the Southern Poverty Law Center.

With this new change in scenery, the dance rally will commence in Dolores Park prior to merging with fellow protesters through the city into the Civic Center for “the party in progress there.”

But this, too, has spurred myriad concerns from attendees looking to partake in a more direct protest.

“The idea that we can let movements advocating hate and violence 'fade out' by ignoring them seems very misguided to me,” wrote Glenna Cole Allee on Facebook after the new venue was announced.

Daveed Walzer Panadero, a co-coordinator of the event, has not responded to requests as of press time.

“We just cannot support protesting at a site where it is known that significant numbers of people will be carrying concealed weapons,” Panadero replied to Allee's comment.

CORRECTION: In the original version of this story, it was stated that open carry would be permitted in Crissy Field. Due to California state law, only concealed carry with a permit is allowed in the park. We apologize for the error.

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