World

Thousands turn up to protest against far-right rally in Boston

BOSTON: Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Boston on Saturday to protest against a "free speech" rally featuring far-right speakers a week after a woman was killed at a white supremacist demonstration in Virginia.

Organisers had invited far-right speakers who were confined to a small pen that police set up in the historic Boston Common park to keep the two sides separate.

PACKED

Police estimated that as many as 40,000 people packed into the streets around the nation's oldest park.

Officials had spent a week planning security for the event, mobilising 500 police officers, including many on bikes, and placing barricades and large white dump trucks on streets along the park.

The far-right rally did not number more than a few dozen people, and its speakers could not be heard due to the shouts of those protesting it and the wide security cordon between the two sides. It ended an hour earlier than planned.

On Saturday, US President Donald Trump praised the Boston protesters.

"I want to applaud the many protesters in Boston who are speaking out against bigotry and hate. Our country will soon come together as one!" he tweeted.

"Our great country has been divided for decades. Sometimes you need protest in order to heal, & we will heal, & be stronger than ever before!"

Thirty-three people were arrested, largely for scuffles in which some protesters threw rocks and bottles of urine at police in riot gear, the Boston Police Department said. - REUTERS

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