Boston’s ‘First Night’ Celebration Disrupted by Ferguson ‘Die-In’

AP Photo/Michael Dwyer
AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

Despite pleas from the police to choose another night, Ferguson protesters in Boston disrupted the decades-old “First Night” celebration by holding a die-in, hoping to scare kids and ruin everyone’s New Year’s Eve party.

Starting in the 1970s—once the more liberally-minded arts and crafts community in Boston decided it was uncomfortable with the traditional American celebration of New Years Eve—Boston began holding its now annual First Night celebration. It was the alternative to what they claimed was a dangerous tradition of alcohol-fueled debauchery. The event features a parade, costumes, art, and an alcohol-free atmosphere.

But this year, when news leaked that the left-wingers in the local Ican’tBreathe/Ferguson protest groups intended to disrupt the First Night event, many voices rose to criticize the Ferguson protesters.

The Boston police even pleaded with the Ferguson protesters not to disrupt the First Night event.

“I just hope they respect that this isn’t the event to hold this,” said Boston Police Commissioner Bill Evans on Tuesday afternoon. “To disrupt the event on Boylston Street tomorrow night is a disservice not only to the city, but also to their character.”

Ferguson protesters had already marred the city’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony weeks before scaring children with their violent screams and chants.

Boston’s community leaders, though, were disappointed because the Ferguson protesters shrugged off the pleas to be respectful of the First Night celebration and promised to hold their die-in anyway.

The protesters told the media that they refused to change their plans because they needed to “keep the pressure” on the city government.

In fact, scaring the little kids on First Night was exactly what the Ferguson protester’s planned. On Tuesday, Brenden LaRosa of the group “First Night Against Police Violence” specifically mentioned his hopes that their “die-in” would frighten kids.

“The die-in mainly is because we want little kids to look at that and be like ‘oh, mommy, why is there kids lying around dead,'” LaRosa said.

Ultimately, only about 100 protesters ended appearing during the First Night festivities. But, when all was said and done, their protest didn’t end up being much of a distraction for the partiers.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at


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