After Neo-Nazis stormed Charlottesville leaving one dead the rest of America has a message for them: “Not on our watch!”
Case in point: Thousands of counter-demonstrators marched peacefully Saturday morning in downtown Boston to overpower a scheduled “free speech rally” hosted by far-right groups. The organizers of the controversial rally claim that they are not white supremacists. Instead they are “libertarians, conservatives, traditionalists, classical liberals, (Donald) Trump supporters or anyone else who enjoys their right to free speech.”
According to CNN, amid a heavy police presence, men, women and children from diverse backgrounds weren’t hearing any of that and marched from Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center in Roxbury to Boston Common. They carried signs that read “No Trump. No KKK. No racist USA” and “Americans against hate.” And at times, demonstrators chanted “Hey hey, ho ho, white supremacy has got to go” and “Black lives matter.”
While the protest’s goal was to be peaceful, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh and Boston Police Commissioner Williams Evans said the city was prepared should violence break out.
“If anything gets out of hand, we will shut it down,” Walsh told reporters Friday.
He also explained why he had to issue a permit for controversial conservative event.
“The courts have made it abundantly clear they have a right to gather no matter how repugnant their views are,” he said.
“This so-called free speech rally — some of the people speaking have said some very hurtful things about the Jewish community, about the African-American community, about a whole bunch of other communities. I don’t want them here.”
Walsh later joined counter-protesters in Roxbury on Saturday.
PBS noted that the free-speech rally had been planned since July, but it gained increased attention in the aftermath of last week’s white nationalist gathering in Virginia. However, on the event’s Facebook page, organizers insisted that their movement for free speech was “in no way affiliated with the Charlottesville rally.”
Either way, folks showed up to shut that noise all the way down.