Photos show thousands of counterprotesters descending on Boston to drown out a right-wing ‘free speech’ rally

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Thousands of counter protesters march to a planned ‘Free Speech Rally’ on Boston Common on August 19, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts.
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Getty Images/Scott Eisen

Roughly 40,000 people descended on Boston Common on Saturday to protest a controversial right-wing “free speech” rally that had been planned.

The event came one week after violence and chaos erupted in Charlottesville, Virginia during a white nationalist rally. One woman died after an apparent white supremacist plowed his car into a crowd of counterprotesters.

In contrast, Saturday’s demonstrations in Boston remained largely peaceful, despite some skirmishes with police. Twenty-seven people were ultimately arrested, police told media.

Here’s how the day unfolded:


A right-wing rally for ‘free speech’ had been planned for Saturday


But many feared it would draw white supremacists and neo-Nazis


Roughly 40,000 people showed up to protest against the rally

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Reuters/Stephanie Keith

They held signs denouncing Nazis and white supremacists…

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Getty Images/Scott Eisen

…supporting Black Lives Matter…

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Getty Images/Scott Eisen

…and referencing Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old woman who was killed at last weekend’s Charlottesville protests


The far-left “antifa” — or anti-fascists — also joined the counter protests

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Reuters/Stephanie Keith

The planned “free speech” rally ended early around 1 p.m., after attendees wrapped up the event without giving their speeches


Rally attendees were escorted out by police

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Getty Images/Scott Eisen

Police had attempted to create a buffer zone between the rally attendees and the counterprotesters


Yet there were clashes between police and counterprotesters as the rally attendees were leaving


Boston police later confirmed that some rocks and urine-filled bottles had been thrown at officers

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Reuters/Stephanie Keith

Ultimately, 27 people were arrested

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Reuters/Stephanie Keith

But Boston police commissioner William Evans said “99.9% of the people were here for the right reason, and that was to fight bigotry and hate”

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Reuters/Stephanie Keith

President Donald Trump weighed in via Twitter, first calling the counterprotesters “anti-police agitators,” then praising them for “speaking out against bigotry and hate”


Boston Mayor Marty Walsh responded: