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Boston Right-Wing 'Free Speech' Rally Dwarfed By Counterprotesters

Boston Right-Wing 'Free Speech' Rally Dwarfed By Counterprotesters‚ÄĚ

The "Boston Free Speech Rally", organized by a group known as the Boston Free Speech Coalition, invited "libertarians, conservatives, traditionalists, classical liberals, (Donald) Trump supporters or anyone else who enjoys their right to free speech".

Christopher Cantwell tells The Associated Press on Thursday that he told the task force member that he knew of no plans by people taking part in Saturday's rally to stir up violence, but they would defend themselves if attacked.

The protests to the rally - which ended early, after barely an hour - drew as many as 40,000 people to the area around Boston Common, according to Boston police.

The showdown between right-wing ralliers and the far larger group of counter-protesters in the heart of downtown Boston came just one week after a chaotic gathering of far-right political groups - including neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and Klan members - left dozens injured and one woman dead in Charlottesville, Virginia after a neo-Nazi plowed his auto into a crowd of counter-protesters. Police have also banned all weapons and items that could be used as weapons and marchers were asked to carry bags or backpacks, which officials said would be subject to searches.

Walsh also said that he didn't think granting Free Speech Rally organizers a permit was the greatest idea.

"So we're urging everyone to stay away from the Common", Walsh said.

Walsh said the city would do whatever is necessary to head off violence initiated by either side.

The rally comes one week after violent confrontations between white supremacists and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia.

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Some 500 police officers placed barricades to prevent vehicles from entering the park, the nation's oldest.

The crowds marched from Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center in Roxbury to the Boston Common, where the rally they were protesting was scheduled to begin at noon. But rally organizers said on social media that Kyle Chapman, Joe Biggs, US Senate candidate Shiva Ayyadurai and congressional candidate Samson Racioppi were to speak.

Boston Police Commissioner William Evans issued a message to his officers working the rally on Saturday.

JOHN MEDLAR: Because this has gotten so much momentum behind it, with all the hysteria, people would show up to counter-protest anyway. They have the right to gather, no matter how repugnant their views are. "The fringes on the left and right do not respect free speech". He said, "They were very cooperative with us".

"I haven't been engaged in a group whose sole mission is to focus against the alt-right", said Saldana.

"We are strictly about free speech", the group said on its Facebook page. "We want everyone who goes to the Common tomorow to understand that young people from the city are watching this".

Zack Hawkins told 22News, "I mean, all of us have safety concerns, we came here knowing we could be injured, hurt or die standing up for what I believe in".



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