Boston is bracing for a far-right “free speech” protest today, only one week after violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
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. Authorities prepare for the events, knowing the real potential for danger as several injuries and one death were reported from Virginia last weekend when a neo-Nazi rammed a car into crowds of peaceful demonstrators.
“If anything gets out of hand, we will shut it down,” said Boston Mayor Marty Walsh during a Friday news conference according to the LA Times. “We’re going to respect their right to free speech. In return, they must respect our city.”
The Boston police have already developed an action plan, deploying 500 officers and setting up barricades and additional security cameras.
The rally will happen today at noon.
Just hours ago, a local church, Temple Israel, held a night of prayer ahead of the event, providing a peaceful space of reflection for those preparing themselves for the day of protests to come.
However, not all has gone as planned for far-right groups hoping to schedule more protests after the Charlottesville events. Today’s demonstrations in Boston come on the heels of an announcement that the so-called March on Google, which was scheduled for several cities including Washington, New York, and Boston, has been cancelled. In fact, the demonstrators were planning to appear at the exact same time on Boston Common as today’s protest.
A message from the would-be marchers cites an alleged threat of violence against them, stating, “The Peaceful March on Google has been postponed due to credible Alt Left terrorist threats for the safety of our citizen participants.”