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Boston mayor: Violence won't be tolerated at 'free speech' rally
September 21 2017, 09:28 | Irvin Gilbert
Jessica Rinaldi Globe Staff John Medlar an organizer of Saturday’s “free speech rally” on Boston Common
Last weekend's clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia, where one woman was killed in a vehicle rampage after bloody street battles, ratcheted up racial tensions already inflamed by white supremacist groups marching more openly in rallies across the United States.
Thousands of far-right protesters are expected to rally in Boston later today in addition to many anti-protesters.
Some cities, but not all, prohibit the other types of weapons used last weekend, such as the long sticks disguised as sign holders that turned into batons, he said. Head of one of the organizing groups told CNN affiliate that they are libertarians and dismiss any kind of hate speech.
Event organizers said they will call for unity and condemn white supremacy. They chanted anti-Nazi and anti-fascism slogans, and waved signs that said: "Make Nazis Afraid Again", "Love your neighbor", "Resist fascism" and "Hate never made US great". "The fringes on the left and right do not respect free speech".
The majority of Tremont Street into Charles Street South by the Common will likely be closed beginning at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Evans said.
In an email earlier this week, the city's parks department told licensed vendors that it was forbidding them from opening up shop on Saturday, citing safety concerns over a controversial planned demonstration.
Katie Griffiths, 48, a social worker also from Cambridge, who works with members of poor and minority communities, said she finds the hate and violence happening "very scary".
"While we maintain that every individual is entitled to their freedom of speech and defend that basic human right, we will not be offering our platform to racism or bigotry", the group wrote on Facebook Tuesday.
Boston-area Black Lives Matter co-organizer Angelina Camacho said she rejected the claims made by the "Free Speech Rally" organizers to distance themselves from the violence in Charlottesville.
Mayor Marty Walsh had a message for the group on Wednesday.
Boston's rally and counter protest on Boston Common will be held Saturday at 12 p.m.
Barriers will separate participants from a planned counterprotest that its organizers are calling a "racial justice solidarity march".
Boston isn't the only city preparing for such a rally.
"We will also activate the City's Emergency Operations Center on Saturday to monitor the event and coordinate with other local and state agencies for resources and support", interim Police Chief David Pughes said in a statement.