Last night Pittsburgh city officials said they were preparing public safety resources ahead of a planned right-wing protest Saturday at several Google sites across the country, including the company’s Bakery Square location. The "March on Google" has since been postponed.
The march was being promoted as a response to Google's firing of engineer James Damore, who was terminated earlier this month over an internal workplace memo some considered hostile to the tech company's diversity efforts.
Self-described "new right" activist Jack Posobiec, who pushed the "PizzaGate" conspiracy theory, had called for the protests before last weekend's clashes between alt-right demonstrators and counter-protestors in Charlottesville, Va. But the fallout from that event has drawn closer attention to subsequent planned events by far-right leaning groups.
On the Google march’s website, Posobiec said the protest was not an alt-right event, describing it instead as a "First Amendment" demonstration. He also issued a statement condemning violence in the wake of the Charlottesville unrest. Posobiec also posted a code of conduct for the marches Monday, which disavows violence and “all groups that espouse it such as White Nationalists [and] KKK.”
In a statement issued Monday night, Mayor Bill Peduto said no permits for the protest had been requested or issued, but that public safety resources would be present if it did take place. He said that social media and intelligence reports regarding the protest are being monitored.
“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,” Peduto said in his statement. “While we must respect First Amendment rights, let me be clear: those spreading hate, fear and violence are not welcome in our city."
The website Infowars had planned on holding an event surrounding the Google march, but it has been cancelled due to threats on a Facebook event page. Infowars is headed by longtime conspiracy theorist and propagator Alex Jones. A segment entitled "Flyover America," was slated to live stream interviews with protestors, but the Pittsburgh event page was flooded with nearly 100 negative comments from residents telling them to stay out of the city. Some comments included threats.
"I removed and cancelled the event, and I am not going," said Infowars' Millie Weaver in a Facebook video.
At least one counter-protest effort is in the works.