BOSTON (AP) — A small group holding what it called a pro-police rally near the Massachusetts Statehouse on Saturday was met by several hundred counterprotesters holding signs with messages such as “Black Lives Matter” and “I can't breathe."
The "Restore Sanity” rally was billed as an effort to support law enforcement by Super Happy Fun America, a group with far-right ties that was behind last year's “straight pride” parade in Boston, which drew outrage from the gay and lesbian community.
The organizers of Saturday's counterprotest, Solidarity Against Hate-Boston, called on residents to show up and oppose the rally, which they viewed as opposed to the Black Lives Matter movement seeking an end to the killing of unarmed Black Americans by police.
“Once again, we as a city must come together to drown out their hate,” Solidarity Against Hate-Boston said on Facebook.
There was a heavy police presence as the larger group of counterprotesters shouted at the pro-police group, which included some people holding signs supporting President Donald Trump. The two groups were on opposite sides of the street, separated by barriers.
The dueling demonstrations were among several events held across Boston in response to the racial reckoning over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
At Copley Square, hundreds gathered at an event organized by a group of Black mothers to stand up against racism while other activists held a rolling bike ride through the city's Roxbury and Dorchester neighborhoods, The Boston Globe reported.
Here’s a look at other developments across New England in the nationwide reckoning over racism and police brutality:
A large group of activists peacefully gathered at the New Hampshire Statehouse in Concord on Saturday.
Organizers said earlier in the week the noon rally was meant to promote Black-owned businesses and to acknowledge the state’s role in oppressing Black people throughout history.
It was among a number of demonstrations planned across the state Saturday in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Meanwhile, a state commission looking at police accountability in New Hampshire met virtually this week.
Republican Gov. Chris Sununu’s Commission on Law Enforcement, Accountability, Community and Transparency heard presentations Thursday and Friday on how officers are trained in New Hampshire, New Hampshire Public Radio reports.
The panel includes representatives from Black Lives Matter, the NAACP and the ACLU and is expected to submit their recommendations to the governor within 45 days.
A bill imposing new requirements on police in Vermont in the wake of nationwide protests against police brutality is now headed to Republican Gov. Phil Scott for his approval.
The state House of Representatives on Friday voted unanimously in favor of S.219 by Sen. Philip Baruth, a Burlington Democrat.
The bill would ban police in Vermont from using chokeholds, order state troopers to wear body cameras and require law enforcement agencies comply with racial data reporting requirements in order to qualify for state grant funding.
The Senate unanimously passed the bill last week. Scott has said he's supportive of efforts to improve police accountability.