Police kept a close eye on dueling protests that took place Saturday outside the San Jose McEnery Convention Center, where science fiction fans gathered for WorldCon 76.
One group called Predators Out Now! Patriots Rally said they were demonstrating against what they call an epidemic of pedophilia in the sci-fi community. They wouldn’t talk to TV reporters, but their Facebook page named Walter Breen, Marion Zimmer Bradley and Samuel Delany—fantasy writers they accuse of sexually abusing children—as symptoms of a subculture that excuses or covers up their crimes.
The sparsely-attended rally also expressed solidarity with the National March Against Far-Left Violence. They also noted that there would be an open mic portion of the event for testimony from people victimized at the Donald Trump rally that took place in downtown San Jose leading up to his 2016 election.
Counter-protesters showed up to oppose the anti-predators-slash-anti-leftist demonstration, which they believed had ties with the racist, misogynist and homophobic fringe known as the alt-right.
“A mob of racists, fascists, neo-Nazis, and bigots are descending on our city to intimidate members of our community and forward their hateful message,” they wrote on the Facebook event page for the demonstration called Hate Not Welcome in San Jose. “These individuals are members of the fascist organization the Proud Boys as well as other groups of violent Trump supporters that are coming to San Jose from out of town. Members of the Proud Boys have been recorded making threats against immigrants at their rallies, including declaring that immigrants heads should be ‘smashed into concrete.’ We are calling for a mass mobilization to send a clear message that their racism and bigotry will not be tolerated here.”