The Second Boston Free Speech Rally

Boston Common bandstand hung with Gadsden and US flags, protected by Boston Police and metal barriers; counterprotesters visible in the background
photo credit Michael Dwyer

Event Date: August 19, 2017

Organized by: Boston Free Speech

Organizations Present:

  • Proud Boys and Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights
  • Anti-Communist Action (Anticom)
  • National Anarchist Tribal Alliance – New York
  • Three Percenters
  • Ku Klux Klan (rumored)

White Supremacists/Fascists Present:

Key Takeaways/Facts:

  • Popular reaction to the white supremacist/fascist violence in Charlottesville the preceding weekend brought out 40,000 people between two organized counter-demonstrations, one from Roxbury to the Common and one stationary on the Common.
  • New England area fascists’ fractures further deepened: many speakers drop out at the last minute.
  • Boston Police Department consistently and violently protected white supremacists/fascists by maintaining perimeter around the stage, providing escorts in and out of the event, as well as tear gassing, bludgeoning, and arresting many counter-protesters and passersby, including shoppers in Downtown Crossing, after the rally.
  • Boston Police Department arrested 33 people, only 3 (one of whom was Trevor Carey, who became part of the Boston Free Speech blue bloc and then MarxWatch) were later identified as fascists.


  • Several dozen fascist events planned nationwide cancel and/or draw a fraction of the expected numbers.
  • With its momentum slowed, Boston Free Speech stopped being the main coalition fascist organization in Boston, and instead became a coalition member of a new such organization, Resist Marxism.
  • Fascist organizing in Boston was slowed for months.

Media Coverage: