Thousands of counter-protesters marched through Boston on Saturday in response to a right-wing “free speech” rally, one week after deadly clashes erupted at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., over the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
Standing beneath a Civil War monument dedicated to Union soldiers who fought a war that “destroyed slavery and maintained the Constitution,” protesters in Boston chanted against racism and hate on Saturday. They carried signs condemning white supremacists and celebrating the memory of Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old protester who was killed in Charlottesville last week.
To prevent similar violence in Boston, law enforcement officials deployed 500 police officers and kept those attending the free speech rally cordoned off from those who protested it. The rally, which began at noon, drew a few dozen people who were far outnumbered by the counter-protesters who marched with the aim of opposing white supremacy.
There were a few early clashes, including a moment when a lone Trump supporter walked through the crowd of counter-protesters while carrying a Trump sign and was chased away. At the end of the day, some counter-protesters got into a heated debate with conservative protesters about systemic racism, leading to at least one physical confrontation.