Event Date: May 13, 2017
Organized by: Boston Free Speech
- Anti-Communist Action (Anticom)
- Three Percenters
- Proud Boys
- National Anarchist Tribal Alliance – New York
White Supremacists/Fascists Present:
- Gabriel Brown
- Stewart Rhodes
- Kyle “Based Stick Man” Chapman
- Steven Verrette
- Sal Cipolla
- Augustus Invictus
- Michael Lindskog
- Shiva Ayyadurai
- 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
- “A free speech clash on the Common leads to two arrests,” Nicole Fleming, Boston Globe, May 13, 2017
- “Scenes From Boston’s Ugly ‘Free Speech Rally’,” Luke O’Neill, Esquire, May 14, 2017
- “Tempers flare at ‘Free Speech Rally’ as alt-right, socialist groups clash,” Jordan Graham, Boston Herald, May 14, 2017