Boston Free Speech Rally

10 people gathered on the bandstand at Boston Common, a young man reads from his cell phone while surroundeed by Oathkeepers in tshirts, hats, or bearing signs; US flags in the foreground

Event Date: May 13, 2017

Organized by: Boston Free Speech

Organizations Present:

White Supremacists/Fascists Present:

  • Gabriel Brown
  • Stewart Rhodes
  • Kyle “Based Stick Man” Chapman
  • Steven Verrette
  • Sal Cipolla
  • Augustus Invictus
  • Michael Lindskog
  • Shiva Ayyadurai

Key Takeaways/Facts:

  • Sal Cipolla attacked a young person in the counterdemonstration, punching them in the face. Another counterprotester came to their aid, and the Boston Police Department arrested the person helping the victim and Cipolla.
  • Leading up to the action, Boston Free Speech invaded a counterdemonstration planning meeting, verbally harassed and physically intimidated community members, stole documents, and took recordings without permission.
  • Recordings released online on white supremacist forums to encourage the doxxing and harassment of Black, East Asian, Jewish, and white organizers present. There was a further attempt to identify and harass all medics at the counterprotest.
  • Proud Boys conducted a violent hazing ritual of one of their members during the action.
  • At least one openly Holocaust-denying speaker given a platform.


  • The outcome was an uneasy draw: greater resistance than anticipated meant that Boston was not repeatedly targeted in the same way other cities were. But fascists/white supremacists were sufficiently emboldened to move forward with the follow up rally to Unite the Right in August 2017.
  • Fault lines within the Boston fascist movement exposed:
    • Younger “alt lite” attendees referencing jokes and conversations online clash with older, hardened militia-affiliated attendees 
    • These schisms are well documented from 8chan chat archives

Media Coverage: