Conservative activists and leftist counterprotesters prepared for a confrontation on Boston Common that could draw thousands a week after a demonstration in Virginia turned deadly.
Police Commissioner William Evans said Friday that 500 officers — some in uniform, others undercover — would be deployed to keep the two groups apart on Saturday. Boston’s Democratic mayor, Marty Walsh, and Massachusetts’ Republican governor, Charlie Baker, both warned that extremist unrest wouldn’t be tolerated in this city famed as the cradle of American liberty.
Organizers of the midday event, billed as a “Free Speech Rally,” have publicly distanced themselves from the neo-Nazis, white supremacists and others who fomented violence in Charlottesville on Aug. 12. A woman was killed at that Unite the Right rally, and scores of others were injured, when a car plowed into counterdemonstrators.
Opponents feared that white nationalists might show up in Boston anyway, raising the specter of ugly confrontations