A conservative rally against "far-left violence" was held in Boston a year after a similar demonstration drew tens of thousands of counterprotesters.
Boston Free Speech, the group organizing the event, began the rally at noon Saturday at City Hall Plaza. Organizer John Medlar says the event was meant to call out internet censorship and "violent suppression of discourse in the public square."
More than 100 counterprotesters also gathered at the State House for a planned march to City Hall organized by Stand Against Hate-Boston and the Democratic Socialists of America.
Before marching, counterprotesters played Aretha Franklin's rendition of "A Change Is Gonna Come."
Counterprotesters easily outnumbered just a dozen or so "free speech" rally participants, with over 150 people gathering to chant "Black lives matter" and "Don't give into racist fear, Nazis are not welcome here."
Martin Henson, with Boston's Black Lives Matter, says the organizers may say they're there for free speech, but he calls them "fascists and racists and white supremacists."
"Sometimes the far-right looks like the folks next door," he said. "Sometimes they look like the folks across the street."
Brandon Navom rallied with people wearing American Guard shirts — a group the Anti-Defamation League says "has a background with connections to anti-immigrant extremism, hatred and violence. "
But Navom says he was standing up for free expression of all people.
He says he's not a Nazi or a fascist or a white supremacist. He says at one time, he let a homeless black man live with him.
"And he was a big black guy with dreadlocks and I saw past that, 'cause I didn't see him as a black man, I saw him as a human being."
Last August's self-described "free speech" rally happened on Boston Common days after a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, left one protester dead and 19 injured.
With reporting by the Associated Press and WBUR's Quincy Walters
Correction: In an earlier version of this story, WBUR inaccurately characterized the language the Anti-Defamation League used to describe the American Guard. We regret the error.
This article was originally published on August 18, 2018.