BOSTON, MA — Boston, once again, stood for peace and love as tens of thousands of counter-protesters took to city streets last Saturday to protest against hate and racism.
It was the city’s response to the neo-Nazi and alt-right protests that turned violent in Charlottesville, Virginia, one week earlier.
“I think it is clear today that Bostonstood for peace and love, not bigotry and hate,” said Mayor Marty Walsh. “I want to thank all the people that came out to share that message of love, not hate — to fight back on racism, to fight back on anti-semitism to fight back on the white supremacists that were coming to our city, the Nazi’s that were coming to our city.”
Protesters at the Boston common say they denounce the white supremacist message and the violence in Charlottesville, and that’s why they counter protested the so called “free speech” rally attended by dozens of right-wingers.
“I came here to stand up for truth and freedom and equality for everyone. I think this so-called ‘free speech’ rally is basically just for closeted white supremacists who are trying to come out,” said Sam Johnson.
“Absolutely, Boston is a great example for protests and really sending the message without any of the icky stuff breaking out,” said Robert Shane.
But in a surprise change in tone, President Donald Trump tweeted that he applauded the protesters for speaking out against bigotry and hate, and that the country will soon come together.
Trump also tweeted: “Our country has been divided for decades. Sometimes you need to protest in order to heal, and we will heal, and be stronger than ever before.”
The presidential tweet went viral not because of his positive message, but because the Trump mistakenly spelled “heal” with two e’s, but was later replaced with the right spelling.
“Ninety-nine point nine percent of the people who were here were here for the right reason, and that was to fight bigotry and hate for the most part here today,” said police commissioner William Evans. “We knew we were going to have some people who would cause problems– most of them disorderly, a couple of assault and batteries on police officers and other charges.”
Organizers of the right wing group’s “free speech” protest say they stood apart from the white supremacist and neo-Nazis that were seen in Charlottesville, and that their message was to promote freedom of speech.
“Overall I think we got the first amendment people in, we got them out. And no one got hurt. No one got killed, and we have no significant at all property damage to the city,” said Evans.
The right-wing group’s “free speech” rally broke up earlier than their counter protesters.