Boston mayor warns white supremacists to behave ahead of Saturday rally

Boston police will separate the demonstrators and counter-protesters by a police barrier and will prohibit attendees from carrying backpacks, signs with sticks, or anything else that could serve as a weapon.
By Leon Clarke | Aug 22, 2017
A right-wing rally planned for Boston on Saturday will go forward, but Boston Mayor Marty Walsh warned the event's organizers that the city will have "zero tolerance" for any violence. He stressed that he does not want a repeat of last weekend's Charlottesville rally.

"Do not come into our city and cause problems," Walsh said. "If it's the same group that's associated with Charlottesville, that message isn't wanted here. That message isn't wanted in the United States of America."

Boston Free Speech, a coalition of far-right organizations, is heading up Saturday's rally. The group denies having any affiliation with the alt-right, neo-Nazis, or white-supremacist groups, but Walsh would still rather that the demonstration did not take place at all.

"I didn't want them to get a permit, quite honestly, but we believe in free speech in our country," Walsh told reporters.

Boston police will separate the demonstrators and counter-protesters by a police barrier and will prohibit attendees from carrying backpacks, signs with sticks, or anything else that could serve as a weapon. Witnesses of Charlottesville's rally last weekend said that police had allowed protesters and counter-protesters to converge and that some participants hit others with sticks or threw projectiles, causing injuries.

Walsh did not issue any similar warnings to counter-protesters while addressing the right-wing protesters. However, police and numerous witnesses in Charlottesville said afterward that the white supremacists were not the only ones starting fights.

"I saw another man from the white supremacist crowd being chased and beaten. People were hitting him with their signs. A much older man, also with the alt-right group, got pushed to the ground in the commotion. Someone raised a stick over his head and beat the man with it, and that's when I screamed and ran over with several other strangers to help him to his feet," said Isabella Ciambotti, a University of Virginia student who was in Charlottesville at the time of the rally and captured some of the violence on video.

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