Many were concerned that the protests in Boston would turn into riots, causing property damage and producing casualties – a repeat of events in Charlottesville that led to one death and numerous injuries.
Boston’s city government and police force had allowed for a poorly attended so-called “Free Speech Rally,” which had ties to the white nationalist Virginia rally, as well as the counter-protests that far outnumbered the original event.
Boston Commissioner William Evans seconded the mayor’s remarks, stating that “99.9 percent” of those in attendance were t to “Fight bigotry and hate.” He noted that t were only 33 arrests, no serious injuries, no significant property damage and said that everything went according to plan.
While the ratios of police to participants was roughly the same, Boston’s experienced police force was more able to handle 40,000 demonstrators, which dwarfed the 500 people who attended the “Unite the Right Rally” and 1,000 counter-protesters in Charlottesville.
Malcolm Nance, MSNBC’s terrorism and security analyst, told the network that Boston acted like a city “That really had its game ready,” remarking on the stark contrast between law enforcement’s actions in Boston as compared to Charlottesville.
He commended the Boston police for acting respectfully and fast and noted their ability to identify troublemakers – such as the 33 individuals who were arrested.
The mayor’s office and the Boston Police Department met with “Boston Free Speech Rally” organizers to discuss whether the city would permit the event to occur.
The Boston Police also kept the “Public order platoons” or “Riot cops” at the ready to push back on the crowd when necessary.
As police in Dallas and elsew Saturday try to mirror the success seen in Boston, President Donald Trump highlighted efficacy of the city’s police force – though he incorrectly implied many of the protesters were “Agitators.”