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    Protests in Boston

    Thousands of Anti-Racist Protesters March Amid 'Free Speech' Rally in Boston

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    Tens of thousands of anti-racist activists in Boston began marching on Saturday toward a smaller group of 'Free Speech' protesters gathering in the heart of the US city, where police officers set up barricades and stepped up security measures in a bid to prevent violence.

    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.

    Protests in Boston
    © Sputnik/ Kristin Dailey
    Protests in Boston

    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.

    US Police in Boston have formed a human barrier to separate rival protesters as tensions soared when Free Speech demonstrators arrived to the site of their rally, a Sputnik correspondent reported on Saturday.

    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.

    Related:

    Boston Free Speech Rally Organizers Fear Violence, Face Threats - Security Guard
    Boston Police Ramp Up Security Amid 'Free Speech' Rally
    Counter-Protest in Boston Aims to Inspire Millions to Fight White Supremacy
    US City of Boston Braces for Rival Protests in Wake of Charlottesville Violence
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