Thousands gather for “Free Speech Rally” in Boston

The protest grew tenser as the day went on, but protesters largely dispersed by late afternoon

BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) – The Boston free speech rally attracted thousands of counter protesters to the Boston Common Saturday.

Organizers of the Free Speech Rally said their event had nothing to do with white nationalism, but after last week’s events in Charlottesville, protesters came out in full force to oppose white supremacy.

Thousands and thousands flocked to the Boston Common Saturday. Some supporting the Free Speech Rally, and others speaking out against white supremacy.

The Free Speech Rally was planned months ago, but after the events in Charlottesville, counter protesters seemed to significantly outnumber those here for the rally.

Organizers of the Free Speech Rally said their event had nothing to do with white nationalism, and some attendees said they hope protesters know the rally’s real purpose.

Organizers from both groups had said they were hoping for a peaceful event. The atmosphere in the common was at times unifying, filled with chanting and marching, and at others, divisive, with yelling matches and setting fires.


Hundreds of police officers maintain safety at “Free Speech Rally” in Boston


A participant moved from Charlottesville to Boston a few months ago. He said despite the tensions and potential risks, being a part of the protest could send a powerful message.

“All of this resonates with me on a personal level, in addition to having lived in Charlotesville, but also being a Jewish person who lived in Charlotesville, who knew people who had to basically hide in the synagogue on Saturday morning'” said Jonathan Cohen. “I guess this was really an effective wake up call, and a call to action that has resonated outside of Virginia and far away like in Boston.”

The protest grew tenser as the day went on, but protesters largely dispersed by late afternoon.