Thousands of left-wing activists are expected to counter-protest a free speech rally taking place in Boston this Saturday, exactly a week after the deadly violence in Charlottesville.
The “Boston Free Speech Rally,” organized by a group known as the Boston Free Speech Coalition, invited “libertarians, conservatives, traditionalists, classical liberals, (Donald) Trump supporters or anyone else who enjoys their right to free speech.” The group fully distanced itself from the events in Charlottesville last weekend, after violence broke out between a white supremacist rally and Antifa.
“Contrary to a lot of the rumors out there, the purpose of the rally is to denounce the kind of political violence that we have seen — a sort of rising tide throughout the country, and particularly most recently in Charlottesville,” organizer John Medlar told CNN affiliate WBZ.
— Boston Free Speech (@Boston_FS) August 16, 2017
Speakers attending the rally include former Infowars reporter Joe Biggs, Republican congressional candidate Shiva Ayyadurai, and Libertarian congressional candidate Samson Racioppi. Other invited speakers, such as commentator Gavin MacInnes and Tim Gionet (also known as Baked Alaska) decided not to attend.
However, Boston’s Mayor Marty Walsh confirmed that over 500 police officers will be deployed to oversee the event to prevent any potential violence, as the local Black Lives Matter (BLM) chapter and ANSWER Coalition Boston have received interest in planned counter-protests.
“It went from a few hundred to well over 1,000 to now roughly 3,000 pretty quickly,” said ANSWER Coalition Boston organizer Nino Brown. “There are about 10,000 interested in our event, according to Facebook.”
Meanwhile, a BLM-organized demonstration called “Fight Supremacy” saw similar levels of interest, raising more than $20,000 by Thursday night, while expecting over 10,000 attendees.
Boston Police Commissioner Billy Evans confirmed that authorities would be “watching the crowd really closely.”
“I hope anyone who protests and is marching is doing it for the right reason,” Evans said. “Unfortunately, I think there’s going to be a few troublemakers here.”