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News :: Organizing
Boston Common Right Wing Rally Fizzles Out as 50 Face 10,000 Counter Protesters 19 Aug 2017
19 Aug 2017
BOSTON —

Most of the crowds have dispersed after the controversial "Free Speech Rally" disbanded before it ever really began, but some lingering crowds continue to clash with police near Boston Common.

The controversial rally on the Common was met with overwhelming opposition Saturday morning as thousands of people surrounded the cordoned-off bandstand and another 10,000 or more marched to the area from Roxbury.
Many feared the "Free Speech Rally" would actually be white nationalist rally similar to the one that erupted in violence and left a woman dead in Charlottesville, Virginia, last week. Organizers, however, repeatedly disputed this comparison.

Several verbal confrontations were heard between counterprotesters and rally attendees as they tried to reach the bandstand. Some of the counterprotesters, who said it was their duty to support free speech, were seen helping the rally attendees through the dense crowd.

Eventually, however, the "Free Speech Rally" organizers seemed to give up.

"I didn't realize how unplanned of an event it was going to be," said Samson Racioppi, a candidate for Congress who was on the list of speakers publicized by the rally organizers. "I really think it was supposed to be a good event by the organizers but it kinda fell apart."

A few dozen people had gathered on the bandstand for the controversial rally, but reporters observed them departing around 12:45 p.m. A few minutes later, police were seen taking down the flags and other items that the rally organizers had hung on the bandstand.

Police escorted the rally attendees out of the area, but some physical conflicts were observed and a phalanx of officers in riot gear emerged near Emerson College as a show of force to quell the crowd.

At the same time, the "Fight Supremacy" march began to reach the area with 10,000 or more participants who were led into downtown from Roxbury by organizers including Black Lives Matter and the Mass Community Action Network.

Boston-area leaders of Black Lives Matter said Friday that they did not accept claims from the organizers of the "Free Speech Rally."

"For many years, they have ignored the problem and ignoring the problem is not going to make it go away," said Boston-area Black Lives Matter co-organizer Monica Cannon.

"If this was really about free speech, we would have been invited from day one to speak and have a platform," said Boston-area Black Lives Matter co-organizer Angelina Camacho.

The permit for Saturday's event on Boston Common came with severe restrictions, including a ban on backpacks, sticks and anything that could be used as a weapon. Police also installed additional security cameras and barriers around the Common.

"If anything gets out of hand, we will shut it down," Mayor Marty Walsh said.

As many people began to disperse, a small number of rowdy protesters came face-to-face with armored officers near Tremont and Boylston Streets. The officers were trying to make room for police vehicles to pass through.

Officers in that area were seen taking a small number of people into custody, restraining their hands with handcuffs or plastic ties.

On Boston Common itself, however, a picnic atmosphere took over with stragglers tossing beach balls, banging on bongo drums and playing reggae music.

https://boston.craigslist.org/gbs/pol/6271551622.html
See also:
https://boston.craigslist.org/gbs/pol/6271551622.html

This work is in the public domain.
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