BOSTON (WWLP) – Thousands of demonstrators and counter protesters gathered in Boston Saturday for a free speech rally.
Barriers and security cameras were just some of the measures local police took to keep people safe.
A coalition of libertarians and progressives rallied on the Boston Common for the second “Boston Free Speech Rally.”
More than 500 police officers were estimated to be there. The Boston Police Department prohibited weapons and sticks, and backpacks and bags were searched.
This comes just one week after a “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia turned violent and deadly. 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.
Despite concerns after the events in Charlottesville, one counter protester said it’s worth the risk to attend.
Zack Hawkins told 22News, “I mean, all of us have safety concerns, we came here knowing we could be injured, hurt or die standing up for what I believe in.”
Counter protesters of the Boston rally marched from Roxbury to the Boston Common when the event began, in order to stand against white supremacy.
One man planning to attend the rally did not wish to be shown on camera due to the heightened tensions of the event. He said the day is just about free speech. “We’re just hoping to support the First Amendment, help defend against the people who violently assaulted those just speaking their mind, unify people, because obviously it’s been very divided, especially with Charlottesville.”