After last weekend’s horrorshow in Charlottesville, it’s a relief that the white supremacist hate-fest planned for Boston on Saturday (sickeningly billed as a “Free Speech” rally) was a total bust.
Just some 40-odd “alt-right” protesters gathered on the historic Boston Common, dwarfed by about 40,000 counter-protesters, who chanted “wrong side of history” and “shame, shame.” Eventually, police escorted the small group of haters with their Nazi regalia away to safety, and that was that.
But Beantown’s alternative media are aghast that the racists got a permit for their ugly little gig while—year after year—city authorities deny one for the pro-cannabis Boston Freedom Rally.
In what has become an annual ritual, organizers MassCann/NORML are forced to go to court, winning an injunction that in turn forces the city of Boston to issue a permit for the event. This has been going on for 20 years now, under three different mayoral administrations. The mid-September cannabis rally on the Boston Common was a success last year, as in previous years—but the official intransigence is a bitter irony in the city that draws millions of tourists as the birthplace of the American Revolution.
And officials have yet to issue a permit for this year’s Freedom Rally, scheduled for the weekend of Sept. 15-17—meaning that unless the city blinks in the coming weeks, MassCann may be going back to court yet again.
Last year, the city held up the permit as officials pressured MassCann to hire police officers for the event, as opposed to the usual security guards.
“That was just their first demand,” Freedom Rally organizer Bill Downing told DigBoston. “They then came up with demand after demand after demand.”
Authorities were still withholding a permit up until the day before the rally, forcing Downing and MassCann’s ACLU-provided attorney to go to court—where they won approval, as usual.
DigBoston wryly noted: “Whatever happens, it won’t change the initial fact that city officials apparently believe right-wing extremists have more rights than pot smokers.”
The alternative weekly quotes local Black Lives Matter organizer Monica Cannon, who noted at a press conference in Roxbury ahead of the alt-right affair: “We know that Mayor [Marty] Walsh denied the cannabis community to have their rally there, and forced them to go to court in order to get an injunction to have their rally. So I don’t understand why he didn’t do the same thing when it comes to the hate speech that they are trying to bring to our community.”