KQED asked our audience what they wanted to know about the far-right and counter protests over the weekend.
How many right-wing or racist demonstrators were actually present anywhere in SF?
Asked by Matt Oja
It's tricky to get a handle on this number in San Francisco, because Patriot Prayer plans changed multiple times, ultimately dispersing the protests and counterprotests. The largest gathering of far-right activists was about 30 in Pacifica, where the Patriot Prayer group held a press conference.
In Berkeley, KQED reporters estimate there were about 10 activists wearing pro-Trump attire, and 10 more who weren't immediately identifiable by what they were wearing.
How much money did it cost the city to prepare?
KQED reporters are still working to find a dollar value for preparations and law enforcement response, but here's what we know so far:
- The San Francisco's mayor's press office says they are still reviewing costs, but that everything will be handled within existing department budgets, including staff overtime costs.
- Officer Giselle Linnane, a San Francisco Police Department spokeswoman, says it will take the department two or three weeks to assess total costs.
- Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin says the city is also evaluating how much was spent, but that ensuring public safety and cleanup for past demonstrations "hasn't been cheap." The price tag on this weekend's demonstrations could be more than $100,000, he said.
Why is KQED not calling them white supremacists and Nazis? Don't soften or normalize hate groups.
From KQED's Vice President for News Holly Kernan:
"Thanks for writing, we understand the concerns. We are highly cognizant of not normalizing hate groups. That’s why we try not to use the term 'alt-right.' However, it is also important that we be precise. We put together a full glossary of all the players, from the neo-Nazis to the militia groups to the KKK and others. The organizer of the rally at Crissy field has expressly denounced neo-Nazis and white supremacists. Nonetheless, his rallies often draw racist groups, inspire racist action, appear designed to incite violence and definitely are trying to associate themselves with militia groups. We tried to say all of that in our reporting, but Patriot Prayer is not a hate group per se. It is an anti-government group.
"The organizers of Sunday’s rally in Berkeley were originally more of the white nationalist and supremacist nature, including Identity Evropa. But then the face of that march became Amber Cummings, who said, 'White supremacy is not allowed at my rally. We do not want racist people there.' Rather than having Richard Spencer and Nathan Damigo speak, the rally seemed to putter out, attracting instead a handful of Trump supporters, some of whom were beaten up by protesters wearing masks."
Please justify using the term far right as opposed to Conservative rally.
From KQED Vice President for News Holly Kernan:
"The folks organizing and attending both of these rallies do not fit into any definition of 'conservative' politics. They are fringe and far-right groups, such as Patriot Prayer, the Three Percenters militia, the Oath Keepers and Identity Evropa. We will not normalize neo-Nazi and white supremacist rhetoric by calling it 'conservative.' In Berkeley, the people who showed up (not the original organizers) seemed to be Trump supporters, and the way they were treated was reprehensible."