(Photo: Alt Right March to Rally on Boston Common)
Boston, MA – 18 Nov 2017
Around 11:30 am a crowd opposing the Right Wing rally on the Boston Common was gathering at the edge of the steel fences surrounding Parkman Bandstand. Two rings of barriers protected the protest area along with several hundred Boston Police officers in bright day-glow vests and helmets. A little before noon a group of Right Wingers gathered and marched along the perimeter fence towards the gate at the Public Garden end of the enclosure. The opposing Leftist crowd formed a line to block the Right Wingers. Police with bikes formed a line between the two groups and prevented contact. The Right Wing group turned around and marched back toward the Tremont Street side to enter.
Police made each person stop as they were frisked and patted down if they wanted to get in the protest area. People’s back packs were searched. After passing the first police check point people had to go through another check where police were using metal detecting wands. Both Right Wingers and media people were searched.
At the bandstand the speeches started to a small crowd of maybe one hundred Right Wingers, and the Leftist crowd of about a thousand along the fence about fifty yards away roared back. The Rightists repeatedly asked the Leftist crowd to define ‘fascism.’ The Leftist crowd chanted back ‘No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist USA!’
At one point two black clad people got into some kind of altercation and were arrested. A crowd of Leftist gathered around the police and chanted, ‘Let them go!’ The police formed a wedge of a dozen officers and removed the arrested people.
Out of the Leftist crowd of about a thousand there were maybe a hundred black clad – black block – Antifa. They were vocal and stood together, but did not engage in any very provocative actions. Someone moved around the crowd with a Communist Hammer and Sickle flag. Many people had hand made signs and posters.
A couple of people from the Progressive Labor Party held up a banner that read “Never Again! Death to Fascism! Power to the Workers” while a woman spoke through a sound system. The group Refuse Fascism had a banner that read: “Refuse Fascism, In the name of Humanity, We Refuse to Accept a Fascist America.
A couple of men played a ruckus song on brass horns while someone banged a tambourine. For comic relief there was a man with a white bib overalls with a pink heart painted on sloppily who had a long black rubber boot on his head. He had a bullhorn and circulated through the crowd making odd pronouncements. “We have you surrounded, give up!” But who was he talking about? The police, the Right Wingers, or the Leftists? The Boston Police Department was completely in control of the situation with hundreds of officers in bright vests and helmets as well as a half a dozen grim faced plain clothes officers standing with their hands in there pockets on the sides of the crowds nodding to their uniformed friends.
Different groups circulated among the crowd with banners, leaflets and newspapers. The Democratic Socialists of America had a banner, Don’t Resist Alone handed out cards for the website, and the Workers Vanguard newspaper was offered by labor union members. People used bullhorns and sound systems to address the Leftist crowd.
A young black woman stood on a green park bench with a mic and sound system and told the crowd that she would not stop fighting because she was from Roxbury, a predominately black neighborhood. “Coming from Roxbury I have to fight everyday,” she said. Shiva – a Republican candidate for senate stood near the edge of the rally with a banner and a few supporters.
After about a hour of speeches and taunts back and forth the crowd of about one hundred Rightists ended their event and were escorted out of the area by Boston Police while the crowd of Leftist were held back by bicycle police. The Right Wingers had come to Boston to hold another rally and were again met by a larger determined Leftist crowd of over a thousand.