Who’s behind the mysterious rally in Berkeley this Sunday? – The Mercury News
After initially claiming that no permit had been sought for the so-called “No to Marxism” event, city officials on Thursday further clouded things by saying that a permit request had, in fact, been received at City Hall and subsequently denied, largely for technical reasons.
On Friday, things were even more confusing as it was still not clear if Berkeley would try and prevent the rally from taking place or if its organizers would even more forward with their demonstration.
Amber Cummings, a transgender woman who lives in the Bay Area but has reportedly refused to reveal where exactly she lives, made a surprise appearance outside City Hall earlier in the week, responding to reporters questions about the “anti-Marxist” rally planned for Berkeley’s Civic Center Park by her and her colleagues.
Cummings, who is associated with groups that have held three other rallies in the same park and has appeared in photographs holding a sign that reads “TRANSWOMEN FOR TRUMP,” told reporters that her event is not about hate speech or white supremacy.
“That is an outright lie that this mayor is propagating,” she said of Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín. “White supremacy is not allowed at my rally. We do not want racist people there. We do not want hateful people there.”
According to an article in Berkeleyside, Cummings said “we also do not want violent people there. If anybody is coming with the intent of violence, do not come to my rally.”
Still, Cummings once appeared in a photograph at a rally next to Norther California activist and white supremacist Nathan Damigo, founder of Identity Evropa and a player in recent violent clashes in Berkeley and the more recent incident in Charlottesville.
While playing down any suggestion that Sunday’s rally might create the same sort of violence that marred the recent demonstration in Virginia, where one woman and two police officers died, Cummings insisted her event would be “a diverse rally” that would include several transgender women as well as “people of all colors.”
“It’s not a right-wing rally,” she told the news outlet. “Anybody that supports the constitution, supports our country and loves our people is welcome.”
Cummings told reporters that her event is about free speech and that she finds it offensive that she can’t walk around the ultra-liberal city and UC Berkeley campus with an American flag without getting harassed.
The question now remains whether Cummings’s planned rally will take place and, if so, how the city might respond. City officials had indicated earlier in the week that if such a rally took place, even while saying that no one had sought a permit for it, the city would not try and stop it.
According to a letter dated Wednesday to Cummings, Deputy City Manager Jovan Grogan said the permit application, dated Aug. 17, “is incomplete, (and) missing critical information” required by the Berkeley Municipal Code.” The application was also turned in late, according to the city.