Boston police say at least 15,000 anti-Nazi peacefully marched to the park in downtown Boston on Saturday to condemn a rally called by the Boston Free Speech Coalition, USA Today reported. The anti-Nazi side included leftwing, conservative and libertarian activists, some of whom carried signs saying “Love your neighbor,” “Resist fascism,” and “Hate never made US great.” Others held a banner reading: “SMASH WHITE SUPREMACY.” A column of marchers carried a street-wide sign that read, “Which side are YOU on?”
According to many media reports, the Boston Free Speech Coalition rally at the Boston Common left the Parkman Bandstand with a police escort before 1:00 PM, even though their city permit allowed the rally to go until 2 PM.
Boston Free Speech Coalition, which organized the two-hour rally, said on Facebook that they are dedicated to peaceful rallies and are in no way affiliated with the Charlottesville rally on 8/12/17.
“We are witnessing an unprecedented move towards sweeping censorship that undermines our democratic system,” goes the group’s message on Facebook. “We are witnessing increasingly regular incidents of political violence being used to silence political opponents. We are witnessing our social media and online communities purging both progressive and conservative content from their networks. We oppose all instances of censorship. We believe that the way to defeat and disarm toxic ideas and ideologies is through dialogue and reason, and that attempting to silence any voice by force of mob or force of law only empowers the radical elements of society and divides us.”
But, according to the Boston Globe, the group had planned to include two speakers who spoke at the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville at this Saturday’s event, then changed its mind. Meanwhile, has become “a source of outrage in Boston, a bane for City Hall, and an outlet for those who feel their voices are being shut out.”
Police Commissioner William Evans said 500 uniformed and undercover officers were on hand Saturday to keep Nazis and anti-Nazis apart through the two-hour rally. “We will not tolerate any misbehavior, violence or vandalism whatsoever,” Evans said.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh warned: “If anyone gets out of control [at the rally] — at all — it will be shut down.”