BOSTON (Sputnik) — Several hundred people gathered downtown for a 'Free Speech' rally, where several white nationalists and conservatives were slated to deliver speeches.
The "Free Speech" rally on the Boston Common is expected to draw up to 1,000 people, while counter-rallies across the city could attract more than 20,000.
Meanwhile, tens of thousands of counter-protesters gathered in the nearby neighborhood of Roxbury for a Fight Supremacy Rally before participants began marching toward Boston Common.
Hundreds of counter-demonstrators began shouting "Nazi scum" and "shame" as around a dozen Free Speech rally participants who arrived to Boston Common.
At least 500 uniformed and plainclothes police officers were on the streets, and law enforcement agencies erected concrete barriers and parked dump trucks to close off traffic and keep rival demonstrators separate.
City officials also placed video cameras on the streets and tasked teams of police officers with filming protesters in a bid to discourage violence and bring any law-breakers to swift justice.
Police officers searched the bags of anyone entering Boston Common, confiscating banned items including flag poles, metal cans and sharp objects.
Police officers moved quickly to place their bikes between the two groups. Later, thousands of people descended on a public park in the US city of Boston.
Tensions soared as counter-protesters numbers swelled, with several masked demonstrators appearing among the anti-racist activists.
The rival protests come just one week after deadly protests in the US town of Charlottesville, Virginia, where a white nationalist "Unite the Right" rally descended into violence.
Police in Boston are taking extra precautions to avoid a repeat of Charlottesville, where clashes erupted between protesters and counter-demonstrators. The violence culminated in the Virginia town when a Nazi supporter slammed his car into a group of counter-protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and leaving 19 others injured.