Boston police trying to maintain the peace during a free speech rally that attracted a massive counterprotest were hit with bottles of urine, Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans told reporters.
Evans, also known as “Mouse,” told reporters that his officers did their best to keep attendees of the rally separate from the protesters who came out against it.
“We didn’t want them at each others throats,” he said.
Those that attended the rally said police kept many of their attendees from getting through the counterprotest that surrounded them. Police also had to escort many of the attendees out through the counterprotest throng afterward.
There were reports of bottles filled with urine from previous rallies and Evans said he had wanted to make sure it was difficult for this kind of thing to happen again.
“I am sorry to report that we did have bottles thrown at our officers that did have urine in it, a couple of our officers were hit with that. They were hit with a lot of stuff today and I am very proud of the job they did. It goes to the professionalism of this department.”
Officers managed to keep the gathering largely peaceful, though police did arrest 33 suspects for disruptive behavior ranging from disturbing the peace, to assault and battery by means of dangerous weapons, to assaulting a police officer.
In a statement issued by Boston police, they said the event was nonviolent and the majority of those attending were well behaved.
“Unfortunately, not everybody understood the importance of good behavior,” said the statement.
The counterprotest alleged the free speach rally was a gathering of white supremacists, a claim that those attending the event describe as a lie meant to defame the people that were there and the cause they were supporting.
One of the speakers at the relatively small gathering of 20 to 30 attendees that made it through was Shiva Ayyadurai, a pro-Trump Republican hoping to challenge next year’s Massachusetts Senate election.
— Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai (@va_shiva) August 19, 2017
While the event in Virginia did attract a group of white nationalists, the same does not appear to be true of Boston’s much smaller gathering. None of those attending wore any insignia of hate groups, and supporters on the event’s Facebook page were quick to that point out based on pictures and videos from the event.
Ayyadurai supporters holding signs “Black lives do matter,” were some of the few attendees to the rally. Another speaker was Daniel Alejandro Medina, a black man who spoke on the importance celebrating differences and unity.
Organizers planned for the event to begin with a moment of silence for Heather Heyer, the counterprotester killed at the Charlottesville, Virginia, Unite the Right rally on Aug. 12.