Thousands of demonstrators and counterdemonstrators are expected to converge on Boston Common on Saturday because of a rally that self-described free-speech advocates are planning.
At least two of the rally’s keynote speakers are tied to right-wing extremist groups similar to those that organized the ultimately deadly demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia, this past weekend.
State and local officials are worried, therefore, that Saturday’s event could also turn violent. To prevent that, the Boston Police Department is planning a major show of force, including 500 officers, some undercover.
The department is also asking that anyone visiting Boston Common on Saturday not bring backpacks, large bags, or strollers. If they do, they’re subject to search.
Police have flat-out banned other items, including firearms, glass containers, bats (or anything that can be wielded as a bat), pets, and bikes. A complete list can be found here.
Police Commissioner William Evans said at a news conference Friday that there will be “zero tolerance” for any violence at the rally or any counterdemonstrations (one of which is supposed to begin at the Reggie Lewis Center in Roxbury and wend itself to the Common).