Police presence expected at "Free Speech Rally" on Boston Common

Police presence expected at

He's going to Boston for the counter-protest this weekend.

A lot of counter-protesters will be showing up as well, and there is concern among local officials about violence breaking out.

Alexandra Sheldon, an art teacher from Cambridge, was among the thousands who came to Boston Common to express dismay over the displays of white supremacy in Charlottesville. King said she began to remove herself from the group after an interaction while she was serving a sentence for a hate crime, when an African-American woman taught her to play cribbage. The children of our city are watching, and I want everyone who goes to the Common tomorrow to understand that.

"There was like, what, 50 of them?" The people who had put on a rally - a small rally back in May, free speech people - you know, they had held one. "And now out here, there's maybe three, four, five thousand of us all unified, different colors, different races, different sexualities, everything".

Boston Police will prohibit any sticks or weapons from the rally, and will keep the two groups at a distance from each other.

More than 500 police officers will be on hand for the Boston Free Speech Coalition's event so that "we don't have an incident ... like last week in Virginia", Mayor Marty Walsh said Friday. "I can tell you the march we had in May..."

"While we maintain that every individual is entitled to their freedom of speech and defend that basic human right, we will not be offering our platform to racism or bigotry", the group wrote on Facebook Tuesday.

Medlar said he is a libertarian and not a member of the "real far right". Another scheduled headliner is Joe Biggs, who previously worked at the site InfoWars, which is run by conservative radio host Alex Jones.

We are likely to be tested again, either by rallies, such as the one that will occur this Saturday in Boston, or by provocative speakers or writings. But some believe the controversial speakers advertised on their flyer, who have since dropped out, say otherwise.

As they step up efforts to pull such monuments from public spaces and brace for a right-wing backlash, municipalities are re-evaluating their approaches to crowd control, permits, weapon regulation and intelligence gathering. We mourn the tragic loss of life and deplore the attack and the hateful, explicitly racist and anti-Semitic rhetoric that created the environment in which it was perpetrated.

The rally is set to begin at noon on the historic Boston Common, and police said they anticipate large crowds. And the organizer, John Medlar - he says that, at this point, it's really a good thing that they're holding this rally.

"How can we not?"

Boston's rally is the first potentially large and racially charged gathering in a major USA city since a vehicle plowed into counter-demonstrators in Charlottesville, killing a woman and injuring scores of others.

Such policies put police in the position of keeping track of demonstrators and counter-demonstrators, while also "waiting for that first shot to go off", he said, a almost impossible job.

"They're not there to engage in free speech", Leyshon said.

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