Boston aims to avert violence at 'Free Speech' rally


Organizers of the "Free Speech" rally in the U.S. city of Boston fear violence and have faced threats ahead of their planned protest, a security guard for the event told Sputnik on Saturday.

Thomas Robb, the KKK's national director, said four or five members from Springfield and possibly some more from Boston were planning to be at the "Free Speech Rally".

By 11 a.m. on Saturday, the group of counter-protesters - which was organized by a coalition of left-leaning groups, including Black Lives Matter - vastly outnumbered those who came in support of the rally.

Boston officials have been working to prepare for a free speech protest planned for Boston Common amid concerns that orators would include white supremacists.

"The point of this is to have political speech from across the spectrum, conservative, libertarian, centrist", said Chris Hood, an 18-year-old Boston resident who stood among a crowd of a few dozen people who joined the Free Speech rally.

"While we maintain that every individual is entitled to their freedom of speech and defend that basic human right, we will not be offering our platform to racism or bigotry", the group wrote on Facebook Tuesday. No large bags, sticks or weapons will be permitted into the rally.

"I haven't been engaged in a group whose sole mission is to focus against the alt-right", said Saldana.

Organizers of the "Boston Free Speech Rally" have said their event has nothing to do with white nationalism, but many, including mayor Marty Walsh, fear there could be clashes between counter protesters and those attending the free speech rally.

"We can't speak to outfits we don't have any verified intel on - they are not a group known for sharing ahead of time", she said, adding, "Our focus is on the safety of everyone".

Some 500 police officers will be on the streets around the popular tourist destination.

The group said on Facebook that it is not affiliated with the Charlottesville rally organizers in any way. This weekend, Boston officials want to make sure that doesn't happen in their city.

The group's spokesperson, John Medlar, claims the organisation rejects white supremacy, anti-Semitism and racism.

Barriers will separate participants from a planned counterprotest that its organizers are calling "Fight Supremacy" and a "Racial Justice Solidarity March".

Boston authorities also planned to put roadblocks in place to avert vehicle attacks like the deadly one carried out in Charlottesville by a man said to have neo-Nazi sympathies against counter-protesters and a similar spate of attacks by Islamist extremists in Europe, most recently Barcelona.

On the other side, the message was resounding and clear: Boston will not tolerate white supremacist views and violence.