UPDATES: White supremacist rally in Boston

The gathering has spurred a massive counter-protest.

Counterprotesters assemble at the Statehouse before a planned "Free Speech" rally by conservative organizers begins on the adjacent Boston Common, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Boston. CREDIT: AP Photo/Michael Dwyer
Counterprotesters assemble at the Statehouse before a planned "Free Speech" rally by conservative organizers begins on the adjacent Boston Common, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Boston. CREDIT: AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

A so-called “free speech” rally in Boston on Saturday is expected to draw some of the same white supremacist groups that participated in the violent events of Charlottesville last weekend.

The national director of the Ku Klux Klan said that he expected members would attend. A large group of counter-protesters is also expected.

The rally was permitted to begin as early as 10AM at Boston Commons, a public park in the city. About 500 police officers will be on hand and officials are urging calm.

See the latest updates below.

UPDATE 2:12 PM: According to the Washington Post, the “free speech” rally ended before attendees gave any of their planned speeches, leaving the Boston Common pavilion by 1:00 p.m. “A victorious cheer went up among the counter-protesters, as many began to leave,” the Post reported. “Hundreds of others danced in circles and sang, ‘Hey hey, ho ho. White supremacy has got to go.'”

UPDATE 1:58 PM: Buzzfeed reports that “free speech” protestors left Boston Commons before the the full police force even arrived. They were escorted in and out of the park by police.

UPDATE 1:32 PM: At least one Boston restaurant is refusing to serve the small number of self-proclaimed “free speech” activists who descended on the city for today’s protest.

UPDATE 1:12 PM: Reports on the ground indicate that there are thousands of counter-protestors on the streets in Boston now, with more likely to arrive as the afternoon goes on. The counter-protest is potentially “the largest anti-racist protest” of 2017.

UPDATE 12:33PM: Skirmishes break out when neo-Nazis and white supremacists walk “through the crowd of protesters to try and incite violence,” a local reporter tweets.

UPDATE 12:13PM: Crowd of rally participants grows, as does the massive group of counter-protesters.

UPDATE: 11:59AM: Some reports of tense exchanges between protesters and counter-protesters.

One member of the right-wing “media” gives us a view from the inside. Note police are maintaining a lot of space between the rally and the counter-protesters.

UPDATE 11:25AM: Thousands of counter-protesters are making their way to to Boston Commons.

Only a handful of right-wing participants have arrived.

https://twitter.com/JackSmithIV/status/898920194898354176