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A day after violent D.C. insurrection, Boston protesters, clergy call for peace, justice

Scott Gilbert (with bullhorn)  the local spokesperson with refusefascism.org protesting President Trump, was part of a rally at South Station before marching to the State House Thursday evening
Scott Gilbert (with bullhorn) the local spokesperson with refusefascism.org protesting President Trump, was part of a rally at South Station before marching to the State House Thursday eveningMatthew J. Lee/Globe Staff

A day after a violent mob of pro-Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol, protesters marched through Boston Thursday and clergy gathered outside City Hall to call for peace and justice.

About 20 people gathered outside South Station for a 5 p.m. protest organized by the national group Refuse Fascism, some wearing orange T-shirts that read, “Trump/Pence #outnow!”

Protesters also held up signs reading, “Trump lost! Fascists get out!” and a banner that read, “No! In the name of humanity we refuse to accept a fascist America!”

Protestors rally against violent D.C. insurrection
Protestors gathered at the Massachusetts State House to oppose the violent D.C. insurrection. (Shelby Lum/Globe Staff)

Stan Lawrence, a regional organizer for Refuse Fascism, told the small group, “There should be tens and hundreds of thousands of people out in the streets now!”


“The fact that there is not is not a good thing, but we are determined to work toward that goal,” said Lawrence, 72, of Arlington.

He said that even if Trump participates in a peaceful transfer of power, the hateful ideas that he has helped make mainstream will have a lasting impact.

“This is not like a phenomenon of the last few weeks or the last few months,” he said. “This is something that has been developing for years. The white supremacy, the misogyny, the xenophobia that has been fueled and fired by this regime has existed for decades and longer in this country. It’s out in the open now, and it’s not going away unless the decent people in this country come out in their millions and demand it.”

Mary Willis, 59, of Medford, said she became a member of Refuse Fascism a few years ago because she believed Trump’s politics amounted to fascism.

“I think it’s kind of funny that everybody’s so surprised now by what happened because they’ve been doing this ... for four years,” she said. “This is really no surprise.”


Willis said she believes Trump is interested only in money and power, and she was “furious” after seeing the way Capitol police treated the extremists who stormed the building, in contrast to the way police treated many Black Lives Matter protesters last summer.

“We saw last night that they can be calm, they can treat people with respect,” she said.

The group marched from South Station to the Boston Holocaust Memorial, where they compared the Trump administration and white supremacists who support the president to the Nazis and other fascist movements during World War II.

After a slow, somber walk through the memorial, the group read aloud together a pledge promising to oppose Trump and his policies and then headed to the State House to join other protesters.

Outside the State House, where the crowd grew to about 100, the Public Enemy song “Fight the Power” played on a portable device and a helicopter circled overhead.

Telyia Prescott, 32, of Roslindale, said she was attending her first protest ever because she was horrified by the actions of the extremists at the Capitol and the mild response from Capitol Police.

“Last night it was just — unbearable isn’t even the word,” Prescott said. “I just remember seeing children being teargassed during some of the Black Lives Matter protesting — peaceful protesting.”

She contrasted that with the actions of those who rioted at the Capitol, “putting their boots up on the speaker’s desk, and laughing and flying the Confederate flag in the Capitol building, and busting windows, and smiling and taking selfies with police officers.”


“I know that, should I have gone through such a door, with my brown face and my brown family, we wouldn’t have made it past the stairs,” she said.

After hearing from a few speakers, the crowd marched down Bowdoin Street to Government Center chanting, “The people united will never be defeated,” and “What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!”

On the steps of City Hall, Nino Brown, an organizer from the Party for Socialism and Liberation, told the crowd the United States “is fundamentally a far-right country, from the very beginning.”

“We aren’t surprised by what happened in D.C., but we are elated at the solidarity” of the response, he said.

Earlier, clergy condemned the rioters, who had attempted to undercut the nation’s democracy and keep President Trump in the White House, and those who incited the mob, saying those connected to the insurrection should face the full consequences allowed under the law.

“Either we are going to stand for God and justice or we will be exposed as cowards and hypocrites,” the Rev. Eugene F. Rivers III, an organizer of the event, said at that rally, according to NBCBoston.

Danny McDonald of the Globe staff contributed to this story. Material from the Associated Press was also used.