Organizers for what is being billed as a free speech demonstration have received a permit from the city of Boston for a rally Saturday, even after being told by the city's Democratic mayor that he does not want them there.
"I didn't want them to get a permit, quite honestly, but we also believe in free speech in our country," Boston Mayor Marty Walsh told reporters Wednesday.
In the aftermath of the violent rally in Charlottesville, Va. that claimed the life of a 32-year-old woman, Walsh said he was adamantly opposed to the group holding a demonstration in his city.
"We don't need this type of hate. So, my message is clear to this group: we don't want you in Boston. We don't want you on Boston Common," Walsh told reporters Sunday.
Walsh told the group they are welcome if they express themselves in a positive manner but warned the city has a "zero-tolerance policy" if they are looking to start trouble.
Even though Free Speech Boston has obtained a permit to hold a rally on Saturday, many of the rally's original speakers have signaled they do not plan to attend because they feel the mayor's rhetoric has put their safety in jeopardy.
Gavin McInnes, the founder of Proud Boys, an alt-right men's organization that advocates "Western values," who was scheduled to headline the event, said the past weekend's events in Charlottesville, Va. have changed the context of the rally, and he believes Boston's Democratic mayor is purposefully putting lives in danger.
"He is calling this a Nazi thing. He is going to let a riot happen and tell the police to stand down. I can tell the mayor is going to make sure we are endangered … it is a common political tactic," McInnes told Boston Herald Radio Monday.
An organizer for the group is calling on Boston police to provide sufficient protection and is cautioning participants from using racially-charged signage.
"We are telling people not to bring overly inflammatory symbols," John Medlar told WCVB Tuesday.