BOSTON (CBS) – A small group of counter protesters scuffled with police following a so-called “free speech rally” on Boston Common Saturday afternoon.

The smaller than expected rally, which was met by a massive crowd of counter protesters, ended shortly after it started, lasting less than an hour, under heavy security inside the Parkman Bandstand.

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Photos: Boston Free Speech Rally And Counter Protests

As thousands of protesters left the Common, police began to report issues with crowds in the area of Boylston and Tremont Streets.

Boston Police arrested 33 protesters as a result of the street confrontation.

A group of officers in riot gear scuffled with the crowd and appeared to take several people into custody. Police report that some of the protesters were throwing rocks at the police.

Some counter demonstrators scuffled with Boston Police after the rally on the Common ended Saturday afternoon. (WBZ-TV)

Boston Emergency Medical Services reports that they transported 13 patients for demonstration related injuries. Twenty-four others were treated on site and released.

Mace was even used in the street demonstration as WBZ-TV’s Chantee Lans reports.

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After the violent protesters were dispersed, Boston Police Chief William Gross engaged in dialogue with some of the protesters and even mentioned Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s. march in Boston in 1965.


President Donald Trump tweeted Saturday afternoon praising Boston Police and chiding “anti-police agitators.”

Some protesters scuffled with riot police escorting conservative activists following a march in Boston against a planned ‘free speech’ rally on August 19, 2017 in Boston. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

“I saw a lot of the counter protesters not letting out some of the free speech rally and about four or five people were arrested, some justified and some not so much,” a woman from Worcester who witnessed the incident told WBZ-TV’s Mike LaCrosse.


Heavy equipment, including a Department of Public Works truck and tractor, was brought in to help control the crowds. Massachusetts State Police arrested 17 people and MBTA Police arrested two, according to WBZ-TV’s Cheryl Fiandaca. Boston Police said they were still counting.

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There were no reports of any serious injuries.