MOUNTAIN VIEW (KPIX 5) — There are plans for a march targeting Google.
It comes in the wake of the deadly violence in Charlottesville, but organizers are making it clear: this isn’t that kind of protest.
Protesters plan to descend on Google headquarters Saturday, August 19, in support of a fired engineer. James Damore has become something of a hero to some in the alt-right after his anti-diversity memo.
He’s not asking for a rally and wants nothing to do with any violent protest.
Google offices across the country are bracing for protests. These protests were planned before the protest in Charlottesville.
Jack Posobiec, the organizer of a multi-city march on Google, said, “It’s time to march on Google.”
Posobiec said, “We’re going to be going to D.C. We’re going to be going to New York City. We’re going to be doing Austin, and of course we’re going to be doing Mountain View up at the headquarters, the Googleplex.”
He says Google has been censoring content and doing surveillance on users, and firing James Damore is the last straw.
Posobiec said, “Google has been tracking us, Google has been watching us and now when someone speaks up, James Damore … we’re going to see if we can get him to speak.”
But it’s not clear that Damore wants to be part of this protest.
James Damore said, “I support Google and I really do want Google to improve. So I don’t support efforts to try to hurt Google directly.”
The march organizers are trying to distance themselves from the protesters in Charlottesville.
The #MarchonGoogle website says, “We condemn in the strongest possible terms any display of hatred and bigotry from any side.”
The site includes a code of conduct, saying the march “condemns and disavows violence, hatred, and bigotry and all groups that espouse it such as White Nationalists, KKK, Antifa, and NeoNazis.” The site states, “Is this an “Alt-Right” event? The answer is no. This is an event for First Amendment supporters.”
Damore told CNBC on Monday that he’s not familiar with the #MarchonGoogle folks.
“I honestly don’t really know much about them so I can’t really comment,” Damore said.
The Mountain View Police Department issued a statement Monday saying, “We are not publicizing our specific security efforts or plans out of interest of public safety, but we want residents to know that we are taking a close look at the event, especially in light of the attention it is receiving since the tragedy in Virginia last weekend.”
Damore said, “What’s happened recently is just increasing partisanship which I really don’t support.”
To be clear, the First Amendment only applies to the government – there is no First Amendment right against a company like Google. Still protesters say the ubiquity of Google makes it special, and that it should be regulated differently.
Two right wing protests are also planned in the Bay Area for later this month.
The conservative pro-Trump group, Patriot Prayer, has scheduled a free speech rally at San Francisco’s Crissy Field for Saturday, August 26th.
A planned counter protest called un-afraid has popped up on Facebook, with more than 900 people interested in attending.
The next day, another far-right rally is planned for Civic Center Park in Berkeley titled “No to Marxism in America.”
Counter demonstrators are also expected to show up there. That is the same park that was the scene of a violent Patriots Day protest in April. One of the white nationalists of that protest is also credited with helping lead the protest in Charlottesville.
Nathan Damigo, of Stanislaus County, was seen on camera punching a woman in the face. Members of the White supremacists movement say the Berkeley Patriot Day rally was used as a test run to see how far they could push boundaries.
We reached out to Berkeley police to see how they are planning for this upcoming rally, but did not immediately hear back.