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A Boston “free speech” rally is sparking serious concerns about another Charlottesville

A Boston “free speech” rally is sparking serious concerns about another Charlottesville
Battle lines form between white nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the ‘alt-right’ and anti-fascist counter-protesters at the entrance to Emancipation Park during the ‘Unite the Right’ rally August 12, 2017. [Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]

Free speech organizers are planning a rally in Boston this Saturday–a week after a torrent of violence and bloodshed erupted in Charlottesville, Virginia–raising fears that history is going to repeat itself. Civil rights groups including the Anti-Defamation League have asked local officials to postpone the rally, but as of right now, it appears to be still happening. Organizers posted on their Facebook page yesterday that reports of a cancellation were false.

The organizers have denied having any connection to the neo-Nazi and white nationalist organizations behind Saturday’s “Unite the Right” rally, MassLive reports. Still, officials and civil rights groups are concerned that tensions between protesters and counter-protesters could escalate quickly, just as they did last weekend.

According to a local CBS affiliate, Boston mayor Marty Walsh was unclear which groups, exactly, are attending the rally, saying no permits have been issued. (The group says it obtained a permit but is now being ignored by the city.) Walsh added that the racist groups that stormed Charlottesville last week were not welcome in Boston. “We don’t need this type of hate,” he said. “So my message is clear to this group. We don’t want you in Boston. We don’t want you on Boston Common. We don’t want you spewing the hate that we saw yesterday, and the loss of life.”CZ