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Tens of thousands of protestors clash in streets of Boston

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Posted at 2:52 PM, Aug 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-19 15:52:35-04

By GARRETT HAAKE, AARON FRANCO and DARTUNORRO CLARK

BOSTON (NBC News) - Tens of thousands of counter-protesters flooded the streets of Boston on Saturday to confront right-wing “free speech” demonstrators in a display of solidarity after the deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend.

The counter-protesters gathered near Boston’s Malcolm X Boulevard, chanting "Whose streets? Our streets!" and "No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist USA.” They also held signs that read: "Resist," "Black Lives Matter," and "Get the hell off my lawn, you bigots."The massive group of diverse demonstrators dwarfed the “Boston Free Speech Rally” in Boston Common, a downtown city park, where approximately 100 people attended.

The dueling protests, on a hot and humid day, quickly evaporated after the free speech rally, which was scheduled to begin around 10 a.m., ended at 1:30 p.m., according to the Boston Police Department.

Skirmishes between the competing groups, however, did break out before the free speech rally attendees left. Some with the counter-protesters were seen antagonizing a man draped in the American flag and a free speech attendee tried to rile up the counter-protesters.

After the rally, a counter-protester set fire to a large Confederate flag, prompting a few hundred people nearby to break out into cheers.

The protests, however, remained largely peaceful. Pockets of protests remain near the park and near the Massachusetts statehouse.

The Boston Police Department has made at least several arrests, according to law enforcement sources. The department is expected to hold a press conference later today.