Metro

Boston Free Speech organizers planned to start with moment of silence for Charlottesville victim

Boston, MA - 08/19/2017 - The counterprotest march makes it way down Tremont Street. (John Tlumacki/Globe Staff) Reporter: Topic:

John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Counterprotesters marched toward Boston Common.

The Boston Free speech rally broke up shortly after it began on Saturday, with police escorting supporters out of the bandstand in the Boston Common.

The Boston Free Speech rally organizers had 14 speakers scheduled to address crowds gathered on the Common and planned on opening with a reading of the Bill of Rights and a moment of silence for Heather Heyer, who was killed in Charlottesville, Va. last weekend, according to a Facebook post.

Advertisement

It was unclear how many speakers got a chance to take the microphone before the rally was ended.

According to a Periscope feed, Deaconess Anne Armstrong of The Healing Church led an the opening ceremony as scheduled, but it was unclear if the the tribute to Heyer, the 32-year-old counterprotester killed in the rally last Saturday in Charlottesville, was included.

Get Fast Forward in your inbox:
Forget yesterday's news. Get what you need today in this early-morning email.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

Armstrong is the leader of the small Rhode Island cannabis church, which advocates the use of the marijuana in religious rituals and a former write-in R.I. gubernatorial candidate.

The speakers who were scheduled to start shortly after noon were: Dan Hill, Michael Lindskog, Garret Kirkland, Daniel Alejandro Medina, Benjamin/Citizen D’Amour, Donnie Palmer, Rinaldo Del Gallo, and Tammy Lee.

The rally’s headliners who were scheduled to get started around 1:40 p.m. included Liberterian US Congress candidate Samson Racioppi, Republican US Senate candidate Shiva Ayyadurai, right-wing extremist and staunch Trump supporter Kyle Chapman, and conspiracy theorist Joe Biggs, known for his work with Infowars.

Advertisement

Rally organizers had also listed a “surprise guest” -- listed as a “living meme” -- for 2:10 p.m.

In videos posted to his Twitter account late Friday night, Chapman, who goes by “Based Stickman” on social media, offered “Boston Rally Preparation” advice: He urged supporters coming to the rally to be “armed with a minimum of mace” and advised them if they go out drinking to go to neighboring cities or suburbs, make it “anywhere but downtown Boston.”

Chapman was charged Wednesday by the Alameda County district county attorney in California with a felony count of possessing a lead pipe, the Associated Press reported. The charge stems from Chapman’s arrest in March after a fight in Berkley, Calif. between Trump supporters and counterprotesters.

Clarification: Over the weekend, Bostonglobe.com published the names of people listed on the “Free Speech” rally organizers’ Facebook page as speakers for the Saturday event. Among those listed was Rod Webber. He did not speak, and maintains that his name was listed in error.

Aimee Ortiz can be reached at aimee.ortiz@globe.com. Follow her on twitter @aimee_ortiz.
Loading comments...
Real journalists. Real journalism. Subscribe to The Boston Globe today.