Boston struggles to maintain equal treatment under the law while maintainig public safety
Citizen Kane | Sunday, November 26, 2017 -- 7:57 PM EST
***Uploaded by CitizensDawn and Last updated on Friday, August 10, 2018 -- 4:00 PM EDT***

After the Nov. 18 'Rally for the Republic,' organizers reflect on their successes and shortcomings.

On Nov. 18, 2017 Resist Marxism organizers for the “Rally for the Republic” in the Boston Common decided to go ahead with their rally despite having not been officially granted a permit that they accepted.

Having made no agreements with the City, the group was barred from entering the common with flags on flag poles, were subjected to searches upon entering the area where their sound system was set up, and Police restricted access into their event.

Organizer Mark Sahady said that, given the Mayor's refusal to make a public statement correcting his previous comments about the Boston Free Speech rally in August, it was the group's primary goal to get their message out, especially given that they had speakers coming from out of town.

At the August rally thousands came out to protest the group's rally that the Mayor had said in media interviews was a 'white supremacist,' 'Nazi' rally, and they were prevented from using sound amplification for their rally so they could correct the record for the thousands of protesters, who were there under false impressions, by speaking to them directly.

“We had several different goals that day,” Sahady said. “One of them was to get our speakers heard and the best way to do that was with the sound equipment we had set up and the only place that they allowed us to set up the sound equipment was in the pen.”

Sahady told Citizens' Dawn that it took them over 38 days for the city to officially respond to their request, as opposed to the ten day deadline listed on their website. When Resist Marxism received their response from the city it was just over two weeks before their rally, at which point the rally attendees had already decided to make their travel arrangements.

The city offered them the permit for the following day but Resist Marxism declined given that they had to go ahead and make their plans for Nov. 18.

In a Nov. 15 interview with Citizens' Dawn, Ken McKay, Head of Security for the rally, said that in a conversation he had with Superintendent William Ridge that morning the city was ready to grant them the permit for Nov. 18 but refused to grant them the same permit that they grant to all of the other events on the Common. McKay said that Ridge would only agree to grant them the same permit that was given to the organizers for their Boston Free Speech rally in August, which came with all sorts of restrictions that trampled over the organizers' first amendment rights.

McKay advised the organizers not to agree to restrictions and to go ahead with their plans for the rally given two previous Supreme Court Precedents that say that if the group applying for the permit is not given a response within a reasonable amount of time to organize they may carry on their event as if granted the permit.

On Nov. 17 there was an emergency hearing for an injunction of the City's initial decision to not grant the group their permit, despite the space being available on their website. The injunction was filed by Rinaldo del Gallo, one of the speakers for the August rally, on behalf of Resist Marxism.

“It happened in August; I was stopped from speaking by the police; they wouldn't allow me into the Parkman Bandstand; they didn't allow the audience anywhere near; they didn't allow the media in, and they didn't allow amplification,” Del Gallo said about why he filed a preliminary injunction after being denied a permit. “They also didn't give us a permit for today even though the website said it was free and it looked like there was viewpoint discrimination.”

On Nov. 18 the city did allow amplification and also allowed media to enter the bandstand to cover the event, however, despite assurances Del Gallo said he received from the Judge in his hearing the day before assuring him that the city wouldn't behave the same way, Sahady said that there were reports of the police restricting access to the bandstand area as well as entire areas of the Boston Common.

“We're not too happy that we are getting reports about the general public not being let in, and also I think that it should be us who decides who can get into the event, “ Sahady said about the way only people with the initial group were allowed entry by police. “It was very hard for us to tell because we weren't allowed to be at the gate and then even when people were eventually allowed in, they were still harassed. There was this older lady and she was trying to get in and the police kept on saying that she can't come in, she can't come in. But I guess finally they relented, but by that time the event was halfway over.”

Another aspect of the Nov. 18 event that Sahady feels let down by is that the rally attendees were targeted for illegal searches and seizures upon entering the common and the bandstand area.

“Another goal was to assert our rights under the fourth amendment not to be searched, as what's normal on the common. There are protests and rallies almost every weekend on the common, except maybe in the dead of winter, and none of them have to be searched and have things taken away. We wanted the conditions applied to both sides equally, which they weren't. If you look at the video footage, the side outside had flag poles, even though we were told that we couldn't have flag poles anywhere on the common.”

“The rules were selectively enforced,” McKay said about the police targeting rally attendees. “We were told by the Superintenedent that flag poles of any sort would not be allowed on the common period. Not in the bandstand area, in the Common, period. That wasn't the case. They still left it to just the bandstand. So they were only asserting to us that flag poles weren't allowed, but there were flags on the other side, in the Common, on flag poles.”

In a Facebook post following the Rally for the Republic's conclusion, Samson Racioppi, one of the speakers and organizers for the Nov. 18 rally, expressed his concern about the double standard with respect to law enforcement and how the city deals with political rallies on the Boston Common.

“The more I think about this, the more it bothers me,” Racioppi said, referencing the Nov. 4 anti-trump rally held by Refuse Fascism two weeks prior to Racioppi's event.

Racioppi referenced a report from the Boston Globe which highlighted how Carl Dix, one of the Refuse Fascism organizers, openly admitted that the goal of the demonstration is to create "a political crisis in the country that can force the removal of the Trump/Pence regime."

“Whether it was intentionally going to be a violent rally or not, some outlets advertised this nationwide day of protest as such,” Racioppi said. “Yet Boston authorities did not feel the need to have a large stand-off distance, barricades, mandatory searches, no sign poles, etc. Why is this?”

“This is the liberal double standard,” McKay said about the various hindrances the organizers and rally attendees experienced both in August and in November. “This is what is faced on a daily basis with any patriot organization or any organization that is not anywhere left of center. If you're left of center, you're good; you have a free pass to do whatever the hell you want. If you're right of center, nope; that's going to come under absolute scrutiny.”

His statement did seem to strike a chord after it's been revealed by Judicial Watch that, under the Obama administration, a culture of preferential treatment and selective law enforcement by government agencies developed. We saw this behavior with a DOJ “scheme that forced companies sued by the government to fund leftist groups overtly excluded conservative organizations” and we also saw this behavior with the IRS scandal that revealed “top Washington IRS officials, including Lois Lerner and Holly Paz, knew the agency was specifically targeting 'Tea Party' and other conservative organizations.”

The police presence during the Rally for the Republic did succeed in keeping people in the area safe amidst threats of violence by protesters of the rally, which was documented in a Nov. 17 Citizens' Dawn report, but Sahady said that police methods were overbearing and hindered the ability for dialogue with people curious about the group's message.

At one point a Citizens' Dawn reporter – independent media and American citizen – was denied access to where the group was demonstrating outside the State House. Given that it was not a permitted event and given that special rights aren't granted to journalists – not even journalists from major media conglomerates – it's interesting to note that only the mainstream media was issued press passes by the city which gave them unrestricted access to the rally.

To be fair, Citizens' Dawn was eventually allowed into the bandstand area, but only after consulting the captain on duty. The same likely can't be said for other individuals who wanted to document the event.

“It wasn't a permitted event. Therefore, any and all restrictions in the park technically aren't legal, aside from normal, everyday, standard ordinances,” McKay said remarking on the various constitutional rights violations to which rally attendees were subjected. “I know Marty Walsh was trying to come out looking like the big hero, but the fact still remains that he allowed declared domestic terrorists on the common without repercussion.”

“There are still some people who kind of question the need for a permit at all because it is our first amendment right, and also we've seen that when you have a permit, you have more restrictions on you than when you don't,” Sahady said. “If the Mayor would just come out and admit the truth of what we were, then it would have calmed a lot of tensions, but I don't think he's ever going to do that.”

“The people that are opposing free speech are waving communist flags,” McKay said. “Think about that. These people, in their communist and socialist utopias, would not be able to do what they are doing.”

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