Thousands in Boston muffle handful of protesters who are forced to leave
A “free speech” rally in downtown Boston, Massachusetts ended prematurely Saturday after thousands of counterprotesters poured into the streets to drown out potential white supremacist rhetoric.
The rally that was scheduled to start at noon ended at around 1:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon (1730GMT), Boston Police Department declared on Twitter.
The dozens of protesters who gathered at the historic Boston Common park had to leave without making the planned speeches after they were met with an estimated 15,000 protesters who marched peacefully and chanted anti-Nazi slogans.
The nearly 500 police officers deployed for crowd control at the event were left dealing with counterprotesters when the participants of the “free speech” rally left the bandstand at the park, according to media reports.
The organizers of the rally posted on Facebook on Aug. 15 that their movement was “dedicated to peaceful rallies" and was “in no way affiliated with the Charlottesville rally on Aug. 12.
“While we maintain that every individual is entitled to their freedom of speech and defend that basic human right, we will not be offering our platform to racism or bigotry,” the message noted.
In what is thought to be the largest such demonstration in a decade, hundreds of white nationalists and neo-Nazis gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia last Saturday in a day of violence that resulted in the killing of one person and more than 30 injuries.