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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburgh has been added to a list of locations where a group is planning to protest Google later this week.
Google has attracted a lot of attention since its East End offices first opened, but now, the building is scheduled to be the target of a rally scheduled for Saturday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
The website for the March On Google says the company is abusing its power, censoring and silencing dissenting voices on YouTube.
At least nine cities are expected to hold rallies. Pittsburgh was added to the list Friday, but after this past weekend’s events in Charlottesville, the fear here is that the rallies could create rising tensions.
“We saw what happened in Charlottesville. We don’t know what the response is going to be like here,” attorney and activist Felicity Williams said. “We don’t know how many people are going to show up [or] where they’re going to come from, so we should probably get together and plan.”
Organizers of the March On Google are distancing themselves from the violence in Charlottesville. On their website, the group said it “condemns and disavows violence, hatred, and bigotry and all groups that espouse it such as White Nationalists, KKK, Antifa, and NeoNazis.”
Organizers also stated that the March On Google is not an alt-right event. They said the event is for “First Amendment supporters from across the country, from all backgrounds, ethnicity, and walks of life.” They urged supporters to not incite anger, hate or violence.
Lisa Washington’s Report:
It appears organizers do not yet have a permit for Saturday’s rally. A spokesperson for the city’s Public Safety department said Monday in a written statement, “They did not request a permit, but Google’s property is private. Police will be monitoring the protest and will be taking all necessary precautions.”
“We want to make sure that whatever action we plan, that we are keeping people safe,” Williams said, “but we are still able to exercise our rights and to make a statement against this coming to Pittsburgh.”
Mayor Bill Peduto tweeted Monday afternoon, saying they were aware of the event and preparing for it.
Yes. We are very aware of the event on Saturday. We are preparing, as all groups have a Constitutional right to gather in our country. https://t.co/EK0jHwZrD1
— bill peduto (@billpeduto) August 14, 2017
He later released the following statement:
“We have been monitoring social media and intelligence reports regarding potential right wing protests this weekend in Pittsburgh. However, we have not received any event permit requests nor confirmed whether any such protests will actually occur. We are preparing our public safety resources and are engaging with our community stakeholders. As Pittsburghers, we have zero tolerance for violence or hatred, and we will do everything in our power to keep our city’s residents safe. While we must respect First Amendment rights, let me be clear: those spreading hate, fear and violence are not welcome in our city.”
“I hope that they are taking the necessary steps to prepare because, again as I said, I’m pretty sure Charlottesville didn’t anticipate what happened there happening in their city,” Williams said.
A community meeting will be held Tuesday starting at 6 p.m. at the Kingsley Association for anyone who has a vested interest in the planned rally.