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Thousands Protest at Boston ‘Free Speech’ Rally

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Jordan Presley
Counterprotesters burn a confederate flag in Boston on Saturday Aug. 19, 2017.
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AP Photo/Michael Dwyer
Counterprotesters stand near a "Free Speech" rally staged by conservative activists, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Boston.
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AP
Counterprotesters hold signs and chant at the Statehouse before a planned "Free Speech" rally by conservative organizers begin on the adjacent Boston Common, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Boston. Police Commissioner William Evans said Friday that 500 officers, some in uniform, others undercover, would be deployed to keep the two groups apart. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
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AP
State and local police stand amid counterprotesters to provide a lane for organizers to leave Boston Common where a "Free Speech" rally organized by conservative activists had been staged, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Boston.
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NBC Boston
Thousands have gathered for the counter-protest's march to the Common
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NBC Boston
A sign at the counter-protest march to the Boston Common
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NBC Boston/Rob Michaelson
A debate between two people on opposing sides already brings a swarm of cameras.
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NBC Boston
A speaker at the counter-protest march toward the Boston Common
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NBC Boston
A speaker asks the white counter-protesters to be mindful and help act as a "buffer" between people of color and police
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NBC Boston
Barriers are up around the Boston Common ahead of Saturday's rally
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NBC Boston
Counter protesters arriving on Boston Common
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NBC Boston
MBTA officials are closing the Park Street and Boylston Street stations at noon for "public safety reasons"; the stations will reopen after crowds leave the area.
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NBC Boston
Crowds begin to grow on Boston Common ahead of the controversial "Free Speech" rally
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NBC Boston
Some of the counter-protesters on Boston Common
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NBC Boston
Some of the signs at Saturday's rally
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Ella Pestine
Crowds gather near Roxbury Community College to march to Boston Common.
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Abbey Niezgoda
Free Speech Rally demonstrators waiting to get in perimeter. Participants say permit holder isn't here yet & without him they can't get in.
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NBC Boston
EMPTY_CAPTION"We are here today because we believe our country can do better," a speaker says as she pumps up the crowd ahead of the counter-protesters' march toward Boston Common
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NBC Boston
A massive crowd gathered ahead for the march to Boston Common
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NBC Boston
Police blocking the perimeter as demonstrators with the "Free Speech" rally wait for a permit holder to come so they can get in
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NBC Boston
So-called "antifa" activists have arrived at the Boston Common ahead of the Boston "Free Speech" rally
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NBC Boston
EMPTY_CAPTION"Free Speech" rally organizer and permit holder John Medlar arrives on the Boston Common, allowing other "Free Speech" demonstrators to go into the area Boston police have designated for them.
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NBC Boston
An alert Boston police officer noticed a broom stick being carried in the crowd and immediately seized it. Protesters have been allowed signs, but not signs with sticks, flags or other items that may be used as weapons.
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NBC Boston
Counter-protesters starting the 2-mile march from Roxbury to Boston Common
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NBC Boston
Counter-protesters starting the 2-mile march from Roxbury to Boston Common
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NBC Boston
Nelson Zapata of Walpole, Massachusetts, says he's already been heckled at the Free Speech rally by counter protesters
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NBC Boston
Zapata says he's a firm supporter of President Donald Trump
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NBC Boston
Zapata, a Trump supporter, said he went to Boston Common to express his views at the Free Speech rally
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NBC Boston
A counter-protester and "Free Speech" demonstrator debate as a crowd looks on
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NBC Boston
A sign at the counter protest on Boston Common
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NBC Boston
Boston police officers on bicycles are ready as counter-protesters gather
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NBC Boston
Counter-protesters gather across the street from the Statehouse.
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NBC Boston
A counter-protester chants "This is what a family looks like" on the Common.
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NBC Boston
One of the signs at the counter-protest
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NBC Boston
Another sign at the counter-protest on the Boston Common
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John Overhold
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Bryan Harnsberger
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NBC Boston
Police now dispersing on Boylston Street as they form a barrier to let "Free Speech" rally participants leave.
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NBC Boston
Boston police keeping counterprotesters back as "Free Speech" rally ends.
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Frank Holland
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Frank Holland
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Perry Russom
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Perry Russom
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Rob Michaelson
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Rob Michaelson
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Joe Biggs
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Joe Biggs
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Joe Biggs
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Joe Biggs
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Jon Salas
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Jon Salas
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