A free speech rally taking place in Boston, Massachusetts on Saturday was disbanded after thousands of left-wing activists held an enormous counter-protest.
No more than 300 free-speech activists took part in the event, while approximately 30,000 counter-protesters took to the streets in a protest organized by groups such as Black Lives Matter and Boston’s ANSWER Coalition.
The rally was organized by a group known as the Boston Free Speech Coalition and invited “libertarians, conservatives, traditionalists, classical liberals, (Donald) Trump supporters or anyone else who enjoys their right to free speech.”
It was also addressed by Republican Senate candidate Shiva Ayyadurai and Libertarian congressional candidate Samson Racioppi, as counter-protesters sang songs comparing the participants to Nazis and white supremacists.
— Sara Sidner (@sarasidnerCNN) August 19, 2017
The Boston counter-protest is now perhaps the largest anti-racist protest this year. Thousands arrive still — many more expected. pic.twitter.com/7dIPr9XbMo
— Jack Smith IV (@JackSmithIV) August 19, 2017
Images from Fox News showed one woman attacked and dragged after waving an American flag.
Protesters could be seen screaming at a Trump supporter as he walked through the streets.
— Corryn💙 (@Corrynmb) August 19, 2017
Riot police were also deployed as the opposing groups faced off.
Festival atmosphere now on Boston common. Tiny "free-speech" rally disbanded. Mostly peaceful so far but riot police rolling through now. pic.twitter.com/Gzmgq8rdV9
— Joel Gunter (@joelmgunter) August 19, 2017
— Jack Lepiarz (@Lepiarz) August 19, 2017
Boston police are forming a line between the two protest groups pic.twitter.com/M0DGF7pcJN
— The Classy Libertarian (@ClassyLiberties) August 19, 2017
After the principal rally was disbanded, leftists took to Twitter to celebrate their ‘victory.’
— Jamie Church (@jlchurch) August 19, 2017
The "Free Speech" rally is over. There were about 50 ppl there. The thousands are the counter protesters!
Haters just left Boston
— Enjae S. Ostberg (@EnjaeSusan) August 19, 2017
However, other users were quick to criticize the march and point out the irony.
The #AltLeft is protesting Free Speech, the right they have to protest.
— #ThePersistence (@ScottPresler) August 19, 2017
— Makada 🇺🇸 (@_Makada_) August 19, 2017
The Left cheers as a free speech rally is shutdown in Boston. Sad.
— ChrisWilliam (@ChrisWilliam95) August 19, 2017
Everyone wearing a mask in Boston today should be arrested. Watching a woman be assaulted by lefty fascists. No cops in sight.
— David Horowitz (@horowitz39) August 19, 2017
I can guarantee you the mainstream media won't be reporting on alt-left violence which caused a free speech rally in Boston to be shut down.
— Jack Murphy (@RealJack) August 19, 2017
In the run-up to the event, the group behind the rally 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.