Following the events of last week in Charlottesville, Virginia and the upcoming Free Speech rally this weekend in Boston, one cannot help but try and understand better what happened in Charlottesville in the hope of preventing it occurring again in Boston.
The organizers of the Free Speech rally previously held a similar event on the Boston Common in May. Antifa counter-protesters were nearby, but the two groups were separated by police. That event was small with only a few hundred participating from both sides and no violence occurred.
The upcoming Saturday event will draw an unknown number of Free Speech protesters that some estimate will be a few hundred. Counter-protester numbers are expected to be much higher - potentially in the tens of thousands.
The City of Boston has taken many actions to prevent any violence. The Mayor, after consulting with the Southern Poverty Law Center, asked people to stay away and avoid confrontation. The City has experience with both protest and counter-protest groups and has met with them to detail methods to prevent violence. Sticks, bats and other potential weapons have been banned for example.
Despite preparations and warnings - things can go wrong. They did in Charlottesville.