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Anti-Nazis march in force

Thousands of leftist counterprotesters marched through downtown Boston on Saturday, chanting anti-Nazi slogans and waving signs condemning white nationalism as conservative activists rallied a week after a Virginia demonstration turned deadly.

Police Commissioner William Evans said Friday that 500 officers — some in uniform, others undercover — were deployed to keep the two groups apart Saturday. Boston's Democratic mayor, Marty Walsh, and Massachusetts' Republican governor, Charlie Baker, both warned that extremist unrest wouldn't be tolerated in this city famed as the cradle of American liberty.

Organizers of the midday event, billed as a "Free Speech Rally," have publicly distanced themselves from the neo-Nazis, white supremacists and others who fomented violence in Charlottesville on Aug. 12. A woman was killed at that Unite the Right rally, and scores of others were injured, when a car plowed into counterdemonstrators.

But opponents feared that white nationalists might show up in Boston anyway, raising the spectre of ugly confrontations in the first potentially large and racially charged gathering in a major U.S. city since Charlottesville.

Events are planned around the country, in cities including Atlanta, Dallas and New Orleans.

Walsh greeted counterprotesters Saturday morning outside Reggie Lewis Center in the city's Roxbury neighbourhood. Counterprotesters from Black Lives Matter and other groups denouncing racism and anti-Semitism marching from there to the Common, and another group plans to rally on the steps of the Statehouse overlooking the sprawling park.



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