SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — The National Park Service has a long and proud tradition of being the site of peaceful expressions of people’s views under the First Amendment to the US Constitution which guarantees everyone the right to gather together and express their opinions non-violently. We cannot deny a permit to anyone planning to exercise their First Amendment rights based on their political stance or beliefs. We can deny a permit application for public safety reasons if the event raises such significant public safety concerns that law enforcement cannot manage the event.
Today, NPS is approving five First Amendment permits for people to express their views in a non-violent way this weekend in San Francisco: On August 25: “People’s Town Hall Candlelight Vigil” and “People’s Town Hall Press Conference” on Crissy Field; on August 26: “Better Angels San Francisco” and “STOP HATE human banner” on Ocean Beach, and “Patriot Prayer” on Crissy Field.
We urge those planning to attend these events to share their views in a peaceful manner, to look out for each other, and to support law enforcement personnel to keep everyone safe. NPS respects the right to free speech, and in turn, we expect all participants to respect one another and this beautiful national park.
Planning for Safe and Peaceful Events
Many people have expressed concerns about safety related to the Patriot Prayer event. After consultation with other law enforcement colleagues, including the San Francisco Police Department, National Park Service law enforcement believe that whether a permit is issued or not, many people will come to Crissy Field on August 26 to express their opinions. Law enforcement advised that issuing a permit will increase their ability to ensure public safety. Accordingly, the National Park Service has decided to approve the permit with significant conditions to promote the peaceful, non-violent expression of views.
National Park Service law enforcement personnel from around the country are working together with the San Francisco Police Department to ensure safe events for all participants. In particular, NPS law enforcement personnel are working very closely with the SFPD on the Patriot Prayer First Amendment event. Any violence will not be tolerated.
Closures in the Presidio on August 26
To ensure public safety, portions of the Presidio and many businesses within the park will be closed to the public on August 26. Visitors to the Presidio are likely to experience traffic, road closures and other large event related impacts. We strongly encourage visitors who will not be attending the Patriot Prayer event to consider coming to the Presidio on another day.
For more detailed information on all the First Amendment permitted events in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area on August 25 and 26, including the Patriot Prayer event permit restrictions and traffic plans, please visit www.nps.gov/goga. Please check back frequently, as we will be adding information throughout the week.
We are grateful for the collaboration of the San Francisco Police Department for their partnership in ensuring everyone’s safety. We also thank all of the local, state and federal public agency partners who have come to our assistance.
We welcome all to express their views by writing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling: 415-561-2822.