Though Saturday’s “Free Speech” rally in Boston was overshadowed by counterprotesters, the organization seems undeterred.
An estimated 50 people gathered at the Parkman Bandstand on Boston Common for the “Free Speech” rally Saturday afternoon, while nearly 40,000 others marched in the counterprotest.
Many planned speakers ended up dropping out amid controversy that swarmed the Boston Free Speech organization’s event, but one of the speakers who did still attend the rally was Shiva Ayyadurai, who is running against Elizabeth Warren for a Senate seat.
“I want everyone to say it three times with me, an important word that is why we’re here: love, love, love,” Ayyadurai said on Saturday according to a video he shared on his YouTube (media personnel were not allowed by law enforcement near the bandstand).
“We are one people and we cannot let the power of darkness — which is actually power, privilege and control — destroy the light,” Ayyadurai continued. “Be the light brothers and sisters, and know the truth and know that we are here for the right reasons. We are here for love, love, love.”
Behind Ayyadurai, people stood holding signs that said “Black Lives DO Matter.”
On his personal Facebook page, rally organizer John Medlar posted a photo of Ayyadurai standing among those signs with the caption, “40+k people came to shut THIS down?”
In another post, Medlar wrote, “Big thanks and God bless to the progressives who stood with us. You are the true exemplars of genuine liberalism.”
One commenter noted on the Boston Free Speech Facebook page that they didn’t understand the protest response to Ayyadurai’s remarks, but then had noticed that the original rally poster had “at least one person with Nazi-like beliefs… and they were the reason why the protesters rightfully came out. “
Seemingly in response to that idea, Medlar had posted a comment to his Facebook on Saturday addressing the possibility of hate speech and the first amendment’s role there.
“Alt Left and Establishment proven completely intolerant at mere SUGGESTION of hate speech,” he wrote. “We would've easily proven them wrong if simply allowed to proceed. Those who asked me why 1st Amendment needs defending: you now have your answer.”
Medlar did not respond to multiple requests for comment on Monday. Though there is no official comment following Saturday’s events on the Boston Free Speech organization’s Facebook account, Medlar hinted on his own that the group has not been deterred by how things played out this time.
“We learned a LOT from this process,” Medlar wrote. “Going to regroup and come back stronger than ever.”