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Protesters return to Mayor Wu's neighborhood

A small group of anti-vaccine protesters returned to outside Mayor Michelle Wu's Roslindale home Wednesday evening, several of them shouting through megaphones so loudly that neighbors came out to confront them.

The neighborhood had been quiet for a period after the passage in April of a new city ordinance barring protests outside an individual home after 9 p.m. and before 9 a.m.

In addition to opposing COVID-19 vaccines, the protesters said they were standing up for the First Amendment rights of a Black man who had been tackled by police earlier in the day at a Dorchester event, where Wu was speaking and the man had refused to stop using a megaphone.

“There was no reason for them to confiscate his megaphone,” said one of the Roslindale protesters, who would identify himself only as "Kevin" and said he was from western Massachusetts. “There was no reason for them to tackle him and arrest him – just for doing what we’re doing here.”

A half-dozen Boston police officers stood by the mayor’s home, monitoring the situation. Several neighbors asked the protesters to put down their megaphones and have a conversation. When protesters refused, a number of neighbors called 911 to complain about the noise.

Ultimately, Boston Police Captain Kelley McCormick, a deputy superintendent and commander of Homeland Security for the city, arrived on the scene and informed the protesters they had to have a permit to use megaphones. The protesters eventually left peacefully, before 9 p.m.

In addition to the western Massachusetts man, a second lead protester on Wednesday night refused to give her name or say where she was from.

Another woman, Catherine Vitale, of Dorchester, had been arrested previously after disturbing a press conference at Boston City Hall.

Vitale boasted that she has not worn a mask during the entire pandemic and has not received a vaccine, and made false claims about deaths resulting from the vaccine. She also goaded some Black neighbors who pleaded with her to stop using the megaphone; she compared the use of COVID vaccines to the infamous Tuskegee experiment, where Black men went untreated for syphilis in the 1930s.

A spokesman for the Boston Police Department had no immediate comment about the Dorchester incident late Wednesday.

Related:

Beth Healy Twitter Senior Investigative Reporter
Beth Healy is a senior investigative reporter for WBUR.

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