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Counterprotest derails 'free speech' rally in USA city
September 26 2017, 03:54 | Van Peters
MoreCloseclosemoreJohn Medlar a spokesman for the Boston Free Speech Coalition at WBUR
More than 500 Boston Police and Massachusetts State Police personnel were at the Common.
But event organizers, speakers and participants say coverage of the event has been mischaracterized and that it accomplished its goal to talk about the importance of free speech.
A planned "Free Speech Rally" in MA "fell apart" and ended prematurely Sunday afternoon, one of its scheduled speakers said.
But who exactly was behind the controversial rally itself? An estimated 15,000 counterprotesters marched through the city, according toreports. The march was marked by anti-fascist and anti-racist messages, on signs and in chants, as well as support for the Black Lives Matter movement and other progressive causes.
The right-wingers set to appear on Boston Common will be in the city during a counter-demonstration labeled "Fight White Supremacy" in which activists plan to march from the neighborhood of Roxbury to the Common, the LA Times reported.
A self-described white nationalist says he was contacted by a member of the FBI's Joint Terrorist Task Force about helping defuse any violence at what organizers are calling a Free Speech Rally in Boston. "We should work to bring people together, not apart", Walsh said on Twitter.
President Donald Trump applauded the people in Boston who he said were "speaking out" against bigotry and hate.
Organizers from both groups had said they were hoping for a peaceful event.
He initially laid blame for the violence on "many sides" and walked away when reporters shouted questions about whether he specifically denounced white supremacism.
His group is largely made up of students in their mid-teens to mid-20s who live around the city, Medlar told the news website. The leafy downtown park is popular with locals and tourists and has been the scene of numerous rallies and protests for centuries. "If there were Nazis here, I'd be protesting against them". "They might be your next door neighbor or Cub Scout leader", Robb said.
The Boston event, which was planned before the violence in Charlottesville, is taking place amid a heated national debate about racism and the future of Confederate monuments.