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Eight people were arrested at a "Free Speech Rally" in Boston that organisers said "fell apart" after it as dwarfed by a counter-protest against white nationalism. About 30 people attending the rally huddled on Boston Common's bandstand, their words drowned out by more than 10,000 counter-protesters. The two sides were kept more than 50 metres apart by fencing and police. Trouble flared only briefly. At the end of the hour-long rally when the speakers were hustled into a police van that was quickly surrounded by a mob shouting "make them walk". After a tense standoff police cleared a route away with a rolling blockade of motorbikes and bicycles. Police said they made 27 arrests. State and city police inspect people arriving for a "Free Speech" rally on Boston Common Credit: Michael Dwyer/AP American police had feared radical bands of counter-protesters were adding acid to their arsenal of extreme violence as they tried to disrupt far Right rallies and protests. The US has endured a hot week of demonstrations and soul-searching as the country re-examines its troubled racial history and the fall-out from Donald Trump’s tumultuous presidency. Counterprotesters hold signs before conservative organizers begin a planned "Free Speech" rally on Boston Common, Saturday Credit: AP Photo/Michael Dwyer As free speech campaigners and counter-protesters gathered in Boston for the latest potential flashpoint on Saturday, officers said they were worried militants were armed with acid. “We think it’s what they had in Charlottesville,” said one policeman, dressed all in black and equipped with a body camera, referring to violence last weekend in Virginia. “They are using hydrochloric acid or battery acid. “Their tactic now seems to be to cause so much trouble that the event just gets shut down before it can even begin.” Counter protesters gather in Roxbury before marching to the 'Free Speech Rally' on Boston Common Credit: Scott Eisen/Getty Images A law enforcement official told the Boston Globe that officers were investigating reports that radical counter-protesters were planning to throw acid. More than 600 officers yesterday patrolled fences and concrete blockades arranged on Boston Common to keep two rival rallies apart as crowds began gathering. Among them were more than 100 so-called antifa Left-wingers, wearing black scarves over their faces who paraded across the common chanting: “Nazi scum, off our streets.” Police stand by as thousands of protesters prepare to march in Boston Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images They are becoming a familiar sight as white supremacists assert their right to rally, one side in a bitter summer of discontent. The Boston event had been three months in the planning but took on greater significance after clashes in Charlottesville where a 32-year-old woman, Heather Heyer, died when a car crashed into a crowd. Organisers of a the counter protest in Boston urged people to attend amid fears that members of the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacy groups would be among those at the free speech rally. Although the rally organizers stress that they are not associated with any alt-right or white supremacist groups, the city of Boston and Police Commissioner William Evans are preparing for possible confrontations Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images John Medlar, spokesman for Boston Free Speech which organised the rally, said such groups were not welcome. “We have made sure that one of the groups invited is not coming and have been clear that we are not neo Nazis. This has been misreported. We are only about free speech and have people from Left and Right speaking,” he said, referring to the part of the US constitution that guarantees free expression. Charlottesville far-right rally organiser is literally chased out of town 00:59 Among the confirmed guests were Joe Biggs, who used to work for the conspiracy-mongering website Infowars, as well as Shiva Ayyadurai, a scientist who claims to have invented email and is now running for the Senate. Police set strict limits banning protesters carrying anything that can be used as a weapon, as well as dogs and personal protection gear. However, that was not enough to prevent dozens of counter-protesters arriving with scarves over their faces and helmets. “It’s for protection,” said one man, who asked not to give his name. Charlottesville far-right protest In Dallas police used horses to break up a scuffle at a cemetery between people rallying against white supremacy and supporters of Confederate monuments. Officers riding on horseback had waited as the confrontation became more intense, but they moved in to break it up around 9 p.m. It happened at Pioneer Park, a Civil War cemetery that houses the memorial to Confederate soldiers. About 2,300 people, according to police estimates, showed up for a rally against racism at City Hall Plaza, not far from the cemetery. The group shouted," Take them down," referring to the monument.
Original Article: Boston 'free speech' rally dwarfed by thousands of counter-protestersNEXT ARTICLE
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