Counterprotest Upstages Boston Rally 08/20 11:39
Thousands of demonstrators chanting anti-Nazi slogans in a public rejection
of white nationalism upstaged a small group in Boston that planned a "free
speech rally" a week after a violent clash rocked Virginia and reverberated
across the U.S.
BOSTON (AP) -- Thousands of demonstrators chanting anti-Nazi slogans in a
public rejection of white nationalism upstaged a small group in Boston that
planned a "free speech rally" a week after a violent clash rocked Virginia and
reverberated across the U.S.
Counterprotesters marched through the city on Saturday to historic Boston
Common, where conservatives had planned to deliver a series of speeches but
soon left. Police vans later escorted the conservatives out of the area, as
boisterous counterprotesters scuffled with police.
Organizers of the event, the Boston Free Speech Coalition, had publicly
distanced themselves from the neo-Nazis, white supremacists and others who
fomented violence in Charlottesville on Aug. 12. A woman was killed at that
Unite the Right rally, and many others were injured, when a car plowed into
Opponents feared that white nationalists might show up in Boston anyway, and
turned out in force, some dressed entirely in black with bandannas over their
faces. Officials said the rallies --- the largest of about a half dozen around
the country on Saturday --- drew about 40,000 people.
Counterprotesters chanted slogans, and waved signs that said: "Make Nazis
Afraid Again," ''Love your neighbor," ''Resist fascism" and "Hate never made
U.S. great." Others carried a large banner that read: "SMASH WHITE SUPREMACY."
Chris Hood, a free speech rally attendee from Dorchester, said people were
unfairly making it seem like the rally was going to be "a white supremacist
"That was never the intention," he said. "We've only come here to promote
free speech on college campuses, free speech on social media for conservative,
right-wing speakers. And we have no intention of violence."
One of the planned speakers of the conservative activist rally said the
event "fell apart."
Congressional candidate Samson Racioppi, who was among several slated to
speak, told WCVB-TV that he didn't realize "how unplanned of an event it was
going to be."
Rockeem Robinson, a youth counselor from Cambridge, said he joined the
counterprotest to "show support for the black community and for all minority
Members of the Black Lives Matter movement held a protest on the Common,
where a Confederate flag was burned and protesters pounded on the sides of a
Boston Commissioner William Evans said 33 arrests had been made by Saturday
night --- mostly for disorderly conduct while some were for assaulting police
The police department tweeted Saturday afternoon that some protesters were
throwing bottles, urine and rocks at them.
President Donald Trump applauded the people in Boston who he said were
"speaking out" against bigotry and hate. Trump added in a Twitter message that
"Our country will soon come together as one!"
Saturday's showdown in Boston was mostly peaceable, and after demonstrators
dispersed, a picnic atmosphere took over with stragglers tossing beach balls,
banging on bongo drums and playing reggae music.
Rallies in other cities around the country, while smaller, also were
Counterprotesters marched through New Orleans, some of them carrying signs
that read "White People Against White Supremacy" and "Black Lives Matter." And
in Atlanta, a diverse crowd marched from the city's downtown to the home of the
late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
Meredith Dub brought her two daughters, 2-year-old Willow Dub and
12-year-old Rai Chin to the Atlanta rally. Dub is white and her daughters are
mixed race. She said it is essential to show children at an early age that love
is more powerful than hate.
In California, a rally was held near the famed Venice beach boardwalk in Los
Angeles and an anti-racism rally was held in Laguna Beach one day before the
group America First! planned to hold a demonstration in the same place that's
being billed as an "Electric Vigil for the Victims of Illegals and Refugees."
Mayor Toni Iselman told the crowd that "Laguna Beach doesn't tolerate
diversity, we embrace diversity."
In Silicon Valley, more than 500 people gathered in Mountain View in
response to a far-right "March on Google" to rally against the technology
company's firing of a white male software engineer over his claim that women
were biologically unsuited to tech jobs. Organizers postponed the right-wing
march, alleging threats from leftists.
In Dallas, a scuffle broke out between people at a rally against white
supremacy and supporters of Confederate monuments as the event was ending.
Police officers had to subdue the crowd.
The rally, which authorities estimated 2,300 people attended, was at City
Hall plaza, near a Civil War cemetery that houses a memorial to Confederate
soldiers. Only a few hundred people remained when tempers flared and officers
on horseback broke up the two sides.
The Rev. Michael W. Waters, one of the speakers at the rally, said: "Now is
the time to do what is right in the city of Dallas. Now is the time to bring
these monuments down."