Boston hopes to keep peace at 'Free Speech Rally'

John Medlar an organizer of Saturday’s “free speech rally” on Boston Common

The group is largely made up of students in their mid-teens to mid-20s, Medlar told Boston.com. They chanted anti-Nazi and anti-fascism slogans, and waved signs that said: "Love your neighbor", "Resist fascism" and "Hate never made USA great". Some of them dressed entirely in black and wore bandannas over their faces.

It was clear Saturday that the Boston Free Speech rally would be quickly overshadowed by thousands of counter-protesters denouncing bigotry and racism.

Journalists at the Boston Common, a downtown park, tweeted about an hour into the planned rally that many, if not all, of the attendees left the bandstand where they were due to hear speeches from several prominent conservative figures.

The Boston police have already developed an action plan, deploying 500 officers and setting up barricades and additional security cameras.

Commissioner William Evans says Saturday's events went off "as planned", with no one hurt or killed.

Boston's police service were prepared following the violence in Charlottesville just last week.

The city's Democrat mayor, Marty Walsh, shared his thoughts on the small rally and the surrounding counter marches, which he himself joined. Counterprotester Heather Heyer, 32, was killed when a vehicle plowed into a crowd of anti-racism advocates gathered to oppose the "Unite the Right" rally there.

Many wore stickers with the face of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, who died when a auto was driven into a crowd of counter-protesters at last Saturday's far-right rally in Charlottesville.


Earlier in the week, Trump held a news conference in which he blamed the violence in Charlottesville on both sides of the conflict - equating the white supremacists on one side with the "alt-left" on the other side. He has been venerated as a heroic figure in the South.

Rallies also were planned in cities across the country, including Dallas, Atlanta and New Orleans. "We are witnessing increasingly regular incidents of political violence being used to silence political opponents". "I think they'll think again about coming here".

The Movement for Black Lives is calling on those so moved to partake in pointed demonstrations at places it deems "institutions that maintain white supremacy,"so that could be like, anywhere".

A few dozen people had gathered on the bandstand for the controversial rally, but reporters observed them departing around 12:45 p.m.

Angelina Camacho, co-organizer of the counter-protest, said beforehand that she would be thinking of Charlottesville as she marched.

A sign tied politics with recent events in Charlottesville, Va. The counter-protest is potentially "the largest anti-racist protest" of 2017.

The crowd chanted "No Nazis, no KKK, no fascists in the US!" and carried banners with slogans such as "Stop pretending your racism is patriotism".

The crowd held a moment of silence for people who have died because of racism, including Heather Heyer, who was killed in the Charlottesville vehicle rampage last week.

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