Three people were arrested at a far-right rally for free speech in Boston on Saturday, police said.
The “Rally for the Republic” went ahead despite being denied a city permit for the gathering. Boston’s mayor, Marty Walsh, said a road race was planned Saturday in the area, which was the reason for the city denying the protesters permission to demonstrate in the area. Organizers refused to delay their protest to Sunday, the mayor said.
A similar rally in August was overwhelmed by thousands of counter-protesters.
Expecting possible violence, Boston police deployed in large numbers to the Commons park area, and formed in a line separating the latest protest from what some estimated to have been several hundred counter-protesters.
Two of the protesters were arrested for disorderly conduct and one for allegedly assaulting a police officer. The officer was lightly hurt in the altercation.
The two groups that organized the rally, Resist Marxism and Boston Free Speech, insist that far-right views are not given a fair hearing in American public life.
“I’m here because I support the ideas of free speech and the republic,” attendee Alex Moffett, 23, of Burlington, Massachusetts, told a local AP reporter. “There are many people on the other side who believe their ideas are right and are perpetuating violence in the name of those rights.”
As with most of the protesters, Moffett identified as a Republican. Many attendees wore pro-Trump clothes and hats.
Some speakers called left-wing groups such as Black Lives Matter and Antifa “terrorist” organization.