Free Speech Rally in Boston
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
On August 16, MASS Live reported the following:
“Boston’s Parks and Recreation Department has approved a permit for the controversial ‘Free Speech’ rally on Boston Common this Saturday.”
It’s the nation’s oldest city park, dating from 1634, a place I know well, my home city as a boy, adolescent and youth.
Following Charlottesville violence last weekend, city police braced to prevent a repeat episode.
Organizers of the rally are part of a group called “Boston Free Speech.” It shouldn’t be compared to individuals behind the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” event, one of its members stressed.
A counter-event is taking place at the same time, called “Fight Supremacy! Boston Counter-Protest & Resistance Rally.”
Boston Free Speech organizers said racism and bigotry aren’t welcome at the event, a Facebook statement saying:
“This Free Speech Movement is dedicated to peaceful rallies and are in no way affiliated with the Charlottesville rally on 8/12/17.”
“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.”
“We denounce the politics of supremacy and violence. We denounce the actions, activities, and tactics of the so-called Antifa movement.”
“We denounce the normalization of political violence. We are witnessing an unprecedented move towards sweeping censorship that undermines our democratic system.”
“We are witnessing increasingly regular incidents of political violence being used to silence political opponents.”
“We are witnessing our social media and online communities purging both progressive and conservative content from their networks.”
“We oppose all instances of censorship. We believe that the way to defeat and disarm toxic ideas and ideologies is through dialogue and reason, and that attempting to silence any voice by force of mob or force of law only empowers the radical elements of society and divides us.”
“There is a lot of misinformation in the media slandering our name by likening our organization to those that ran the Charlottesville rally.”
“THIS COULD NOT BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH! I can tell you the march we had in May…That group pulled a permit, they worked very well with us as stated by Boston Police Commissioner William Evans in a press conference Monday (8/14/17).”
“We are a coalition of libertarians, progressives, conservatives, and independents, and we welcome all individuals and organizations from any political affiliations that are willing to peaceably engage in open dialogue about the threats to, and importance of, free speech and civil liberties.”
A message from Mayor Marty Walsh asked everyone coming to Boston to “respect this city, because we respect your right to come in and speak.”
“If we’re gonna respect your right to come in, we expect you to respect our city, our people, the people that live here. Don’t pass hate. Don’t pass judgement on people, and that’s what we’re asking for.”
He stressed if violence erupts, the event will be shut down. Police commissioner William Evans said disruptive behavior won’t be tolerated.
Hundreds of city police are deployed, some undercover, ready to intervene in case clashes occur like last weekend. Governor Charlie Baker warned violence and unrest won’t be tolerated.
Similar Saturday events are planned for Atlanta and Dallas. The permit Boston city authorities issued banned backpacks, sticks and anything potentially used as a weapon.
The rally is scheduled for noon – 2:00PM. Crowds began gathering early, peaceful so far as this is written.
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