- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 17, 2021

The city of Anaheim, California, objected early Saturday to Republican Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Matt Gaetz of Florida holding a hastily scheduled “America First” rally in the evening.

“A planned America First rally at a private venue in our city is cancelled,” Anaheim spokesman Mike Lyster said in the statement the city issued shortly before 10 a.m local time Saturday morning.

“The city of Anaheim shared public safety concerns with the operator, and those concerns are shared by the operator,” he said. “As a city we respect free speech but also have a duty to call out speech that does not reflect our city and its values.”

Ms. Greene and Mr. Gaetz originally planned to hold their rally Saturday evening in Laguna Hills, also in southern California, but the venue pulled out Friday and the event was moved to nearby Riverside.

The city of Riverside soon announced it would not be hosting the rally either, however. The city said the company that operates the city-owned convention center had cancelled on the members of Congress.

“I recognize this was a divisive issue in our community, and I am glad it has been resolved,” Riverside Mayor Patricia Lock Dawson, a Democrat elected in 2020, said in a statement late Friday night.

Ms. Greene and Mr. Gaetz accordingly moved their rally to the Anaheim Event Center before the city intervened Saturday. They said they planned to speak later somewhere in southern California anyway. 

“We’ve hosted multiple rallies in multiple states. Not one security issue. Zero violence. Just the very #AmericaFirst energy the woketopian tyrants fear most,” Mr. Gaetz said online in the afternoon.

As of Saturday afternoon, Ms. Greene and Mr. Gaetz said they planned to hold a “peaceful protest” outside Riverside City Hall at 5 p.m. local time.

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