By Charles Parks, Editor | September 2, 2019
The antifa activists arrested Saturday at Boston’s Straight Pride Parade received a helping hand from Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley. The two Democratic congresswomen, part of “The Squad,” urged supporters on Twitter to contribute to the bail fund for counter-protesters who tangled with law enforcement at the Saturday melee.
Boston police arrested 36 people, charging nine with assault and battery on a police officer. Four officers sustained non-life-threatening injuries as they attempted to prevent the antifa-fueled crowd of about 1,000 counter-protesters from mixing it up with an estimated 200 parade participants. It was unclear how many of those arrested were affiliated with antifa, but photos posted online showed a black-clad antifa activist being carried off by police. Antifa protesters attempting to block a road scuffled with officers, as shown on video.
Others arrested were charged with crimes including resisting arrest; disorderly conduct; assault; carrying a dangerous weapon, and assault by means of a dangerous weapon, according to a police log posted by the Boston Herald. Fortunately for counter-protesters facing charges, the first-term congresswomen had their backs.
The Democrats posted tweets in support of a crowdfunding campaign on FundRazr to cover legal fees and jail support for those arrested. The campaign closed after raising $24,652, surpassing its $15,000 goal. “Join me right now in making a contribution,” tweeted Ms. Pressley. “TY to the allies & accomplices who stood in the gap & laid their bodies on the line today in affront #LGBT hate march.”
Ms. Ocasio-Cortez chimed in by encouraging donations to aid “the activists who put themselves on the line protecting the Boston community.” She called it “Boston’s white supremacist parade,” although the event, sponsored by the group Super Happy Fun America, featured several black speakers, according to the website. The FundRazr page said that “fascists and white supremacists, under the front organization Super Happy Fun America, are descending on Boston,” vowing that “Boston will repel them with beautiful and bold direct action!”
Shorthand for “anti-fascist,” the loosely organized anarchist group antifa says it seeks to protect communities from Nazis and white supremacists, while critics call it a domestic-terrorist organization. The parade, denounced by critics as homophobic, also featured right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, who is openly gay, as “grand marshall,” as well as “gay ambassador” Anthony Tamagna.
Boston Mayor Martin Walsh condemned the event, urging Bostonians to “turn our backs on hatred,” while organizers described the parade as a reaction to identity politics and open to “all races, genders and sexual orientations.” Video from the latest left-versus-right skirmish showed marchers waving American and Israeli flags alongside a “Trump 2020” float as counter-protesters shouted from the sidewalks.
Those arrested are scheduled to appear Tuesday in Boston Municipal Court. Boston police plan to review officers’ use of force during the parade after complaints about officers using tear gas. “Let me be clear that I take any accusation of police misconduct seriously,” said Mr. Walsh in a statement. “I also want to be clear that sowing division between people is exactly the goal of Straight Pride organizers, and I will not stand for it.” Boston police commissioner William Gross defended the officers, saying that “under difficult conditions, officers strove to ensure the safety of all at the parade,” the Herald reported.