Boston mayor condemns ‘white supremacist’ march through city

A group of about 100 marchers identifying themselves by flyers as belonging to the white nationalist group the Patriot Front, cut through the heart of downtown Saturday sparking a confrontation.

A scanner call came in at around 12:30 p.m. announcing that a group had gone up to a rental truck parked in the area of the Haymarket MBTA station and off-loaded a number of shields and flags. Many were U.S. flags, with at least one flown upside-down and many showing just the 13 stars in a circle for the original U.S. colonies, as well as flags featuring different designs.

Many flags also had a stylized version of the symbol that represented Benito Mussolini’s National Fascist Party.

“If you truly wish for safety, you will have it. But you can take nothing else with you,” an unmasked member of the group said through a bullhorn when the marchers stopped in front of the Boston Public Library among shouts from onlookers. “Not your home, not your family, not your liberty. There you will be alone with your safety in a rotted world.”

A request for comment sent Saturday afternoon to the group’s official channel on the social media platform Gab was not returned.

One Black man was seen tangling with the group as tempers flared, the Herald observed.

The Boston Police Department received a report of one adult Black man injured in a confrontation with Patriot Front members at the corner of Dartmouth and Stuart streets at about 1:25 p.m.

The man told police that he took out his phone while walking down Dartmouth Street and found himself being pushed around by members of the group, according to BPD chief spokesman Sgt. Detective John Boyle. The man stated he was eventually knocked to the ground and assaulted, during which he suffered a laceration to his right ring finger and others to his head and eyebrow. He was taken to Tufts Medical Center. No arrests have been made yet as police are actively conducting a civil rights investigation of the incident.

Mayor Michelle Wu responded with a tweet “To the white supremacists who ran through downtown today: When we march, we don’t hide our faces. Your hate is as cowardly as it is disgusting, and it goes against all that Boston stands for.”

“The disgusting, hateful actions and words of white supremacist groups are not welcome in this city. Especially in a moment when so many of our rights are under attack, we will not normalize intimidation by bigots,” Wu said in a later statement. “This weekend as we remember Boston’s legacy as the cradle of liberty, we celebrate the continued fight to expand those liberties for all and ensure that Boston will be a city for everyone.”

The group decamped at around 1:30 p.m. at Back Bay Station, according to a Herald photographer on the ground, where they then packed their materials back into a rental truck and left on the T.

“I’m outraged and disgusted at the white supremacist group protesting today in Boston,” City Council president Ed Flynn, who represents the area of the city the group marched, told the Herald. “It’s critical to call out hate and intimidation when we see it, educate children on horrors of the past and stand with the Jewish community, our immigrant neighbors and communities of color.”

Photos from the scene show that many, if not most, of the marchers were dressed in matching khaki pants and navy or dark-colored polo shirts and wore bandanas or a like covering over their lower faces and were also wearing sunglasses and ball caps.

As of 1:14 p.m., the group had marched down Commonwealth Avenue and turned toward Dartmouth Street toward Boylston before stopping in the area of the Boston Public Library, according to a Herald photographer on the ground.

It was at the library where flyers were found announcing the group — or at least part of the group — as belonging to the Patriot Front, a group described as a white nationalist or white supremacist organization by the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

“Since 2019, Patriot Front has been responsible for the vast majority of white supremacist propaganda distributed in the United States,” the ADL wrote in its profile of the group. “One of the United States’ most visible white supremacist groups, Patriot Front participates in localized ‘flash demonstrations’ across the nation.”

The flyer depicts an octopus with one eye a Democratic Party donkey and the other a Republican Party elephant swallowing or engulfing an outline of the continental United States under the headline “Two Parties, One Tyranny.”

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