Protesters angered by the Federal Communications Commission’s proposal to put an end to net neutrality rallied near the Silicon Valley mansion where President Barack Obama was attending a fundraising event on Wednesday morning.
A handful of people who gathered along the road leading to fundraiser venue, a Los Altos Hills mansion, were upset with the United States’ support of Israeli bombing of Gaza, but the majority of the protesters were motivated by different progressive organizations brought together by MoveOn.org to protest the rule under consideration by the FCC that would allow Internet Service Providers to offer content providers a faster track to deliver content.
The protesters were hoping to pressure the president – and any Silicon Valley execs who may have been driving by on their morning commute – to leave access to the Internet open, unrestricted and equal, something President Obama campaigned on in both runs for the presidency.
“Not only did he make that promise, but he also won elections with the support of the Netroots, the grassroots, using the Internet to engage in politics and connect with people,” MoveOn.org’s Victoria Kaplan said. “And now President Obama has a responsibility to make sure the chairman of the FCC – that he appointed – does not kill the Internet, which is the course that he’s on right now."
- Updates: Download NBC Bay Area mobile apps
Net neutrality advocates have been rallying against FCC chairman Tom Wheeler's proposal to create a two-tiered system that would allow service providers to offer faster connection speeds for fee-paying content providers and a second, slower speed for others.
The president arrived to the Bay Area Tuesday night and spent the night in San Francisco, where he attended a fundraising event at the Four Seasons, before heading south to the private residence of Judy and George Marcus in Los Altos Hills to raise money for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
George Marcus is the founder of the real estate brokerage firm Marcus & Millichap.
The president departed from San Francisco International Airport at about 1:47 p.m. on Air Force One. He will continue onto Los Angeles on an early Wednesday afternoon flight from SFO to end a three-day West Coast fundraising trip.
Michelle Roberts contributed to this report.