Thousands march in Boston one week after Charlottesville violence

Casey Dawson
August 25, 2017

An organizer of the free speech event said the group has no affiliation with the white supremacists involved in the violence in Charlottesville, but a small number of Ku Klux Klan members were expected to attend, ABC-affiliate WCVB in Boston reported.

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.

In Boston on Saturday, police used officers on bicycles and other tactics to help enforce a gap of about 40 yards between a few dozen right-wing demonstrators and an estimated 40,000 counterprotesters.

Boston police did confirm that protesters did throw rocks, "urine" and "bottles" at officers but Police Commissioner William Evans said those who caused trouble were decidedly in the minority.

On their Facebook page, the event organizers wrote, "We will not be offering our platform to racism or bigotry".

Organisers of the initial event had publicly distanced themselves from white supremacists and others who spurred violence in Charlottesville, Virginia on 12 August which left one woman dead.

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According to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, everything went off just as the city had planned.

It was a sudden change from the president, who has spent the past week equivocating blame around the Charlottesville white supremacist rally, which turned violent last weekend. Head of one of the organizing groups told CNN affiliate that they are libertarians and dismiss any kind of hate speech. Activists shouted "shame on you" as police escorted "Free Speech" ralliers away from the scene, and accused an officer of swinging at peaceful protesters.

The march in Boston was the first large and racially-charged protest in a major U.S. city since Charlottesville. "I feel that with Donald Trump and what he stands for, the message of hate that he stand for needs to be diluted with love, and that's why I came here today".

Protesters also gathered on Saturday evening in Texas. "In return they have to respect the safety of our city", Walsh said. "And I'm very proud of the job they did".

Demonstrators should even avoid using sticks to hold up their posters, Evans said.

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