Update 8/19, 4:11 p.m. ET: President Trump weighed in on the Boston protests via Twitter:
Looks like many anti-police agitators in Boston. Police are looking tough and smart! Thank you.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 19, 2017
Update 8/19, 2:00 p.m. ET: Boston police estimate around 15,000 people attended the counter-protest in that city, ABC reported. It’s unclear how many people participated the “free speech” rally, but pictures show the counter-protest crowd dwarfed the number of attendees at that rally. At least one “free speech” demonstrator was arrested after an altercation between the man and counter-protesters, according to Boston Globe reporter Evan Allen.
Activists advocating for racial justice are planning to hold rallies, marches, and protests in more than 30 cities on Saturday, including in Atlanta, Chicago, New York City, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., in response to the racially charged violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend.
The national effort, dubbed #FightSupremacy on social media, is led by The Majority, a broad coalition of groups affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as those focused on immigrants’ rights, Muslim equality, and climate justice, among other causes. In total, the events are expected to draw thousands of attendees. An email promoting the initiative encouraged supporters to hold demonstrations at Confederate monuments but also at other “symbols and institutions of white supremacy,” including corporate headquarters, police departments, university campus buildings, and streets named after Confederate figures. Those in D.C. are going to demonstrate at the White House.
“We call on all those who choose to stand on the side of justice, the side in opposition to white supremacy and state violence,” a site promoting the initiative says, “to take creative and courageous action where they live and challenge how white supremacy shows up in our communities.”
The protest in Boston is in direct response to a “free speech” rally being held by far-right groups in the city. Police in the city have tried to prepare throughout the week to avoid direct confrontations between the two groups.
— ❄️Jaclyn Friedman❄️ (@jaclynf) August 19, 2017
— darby (@darby_sanders) August 19, 2017
— sofiaaugustineadams (@sofiaaadams) August 19, 2017
It’s unclear if the demonstrations in other cities will draw counter-protests from white nationalist or other far-right groups. We will update this post as more details become available.