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'Free Speech Rally' and 'Fight Supremacy' groups converge in Boston

'Free Speech Rally' and 'Fight Supremacy' groups converge in Boston

Organizers of a counterprotest to what's being called a free speech rally in Boston say they expect as many as 20,000 to 30,000 people to join them.

They asked the free speech group "where's your rally?" according to New York Times reporter Katharine Seelye.

A so-called "free speech" rally in Boston on Saturday is expected to draw some of the same white supremacist groups that participated in the violent events of Charlottesville last weekend.

UPDATE 1:58 PM: Buzzfeed reports that "free speech" protestors left Boston Commons before the the full police force even arrived.

Scheduled to speak at the free speech rally, which was organized by the Boston Free Speech Coalition, were Kyle Chapman, who caused controversy online after photos emerged of him hitting anti-Trump protesters; Joe Biggs, who previously worked at the website InfoWars, run by conservative radio host Alex Jones; Republican congressional candidate Shiva Ayyadurai; and Racioppi.

Police estimated that 15,000 people took part in the counterprotest march. They held signs with a variety of messages, from "Black Lives Matter" to "Respect Earth".

In addition to the Boston rally, and an expected counter-march, protests are also expected to be held in Texas on Saturday.

The counter protesters were galvanized by the horrors in Charlottesville, where an accused Hitler admirer, James Alex Fields, allegedly rammed a vehicle into a crowd of people protesting a rally that included white supremacists and Nazis there.

Walsh later tweeted there is no place for hatred in the city.

UPDATE 12:13PM: Crowd of rally participants grows, as does the massive group of counter-protesters.

"While we maintain that every individual is entitled to their freedom of speech - and defend that basic human right - we will not be offering our platform to racism or bigotry. We are out here to add an extra body to the numbers of those who resist", said Katie Zipps, who travelled from Malden, north of Boston, for the counter-protest. "We will not stand for discrimination, racism and Nazis". The permit issued for the rally came with severe restrictions, including a ban on backpacks, sticks and anything that could be used as a weapon. "I mean, they might. They might be your next door neighbor or Cub Scout leader", Robb said.

Police Commissioner William Evans said Friday that 500 officers would be deployed to separate the two groups. Evans said additional security cameras were set up.

Beyond the Boston rally and march, events against white supremacy have been taking place around the country in cities including Atlanta, Dallas and New Orleans.

He said that he had also been in contact with Harold Shaw, the special agent in charge of the FBI's Boston field office, ahead of Saturday's demonstrations.