As Boston Gets Ready for Free Speech Rally This Saturday, Some Indian-Americans are Planning to Protest, Boston Police Issues a List of Prohibited Items

BOSTON—As Boston Mayor Martin Walsh and other authorities are urging people to stay away from a planned Free Speech Rally scheduled for this Saturday on Boston Common in Boston, some Indian-Americans are planning to attend a protest rally. Meanwhile, Boston polices has issued a list of prohibited items at the rally.

Aditya Shah, an Indian-American who is planning to attend the protest rally along with some friends, said that there will likely be white supremacist and alt-right groups attending the so-called Free Speech Rally, and it is important to have a Desi voice there as a part of the opposition to white supremacist groups.

“This is a pivotal moment in the lives of Indian-Americans in this country. Do we destroy ourselves by allying with those who wish harm upon our children and wellbeing, or do we fight against hatred and live up to the eternal values that inspired our Independence Movement,” Shah told INDIA New England News. “Those who ally themselves with white supremacists, such as Shiva Ayyadurai, are selling out the whole community in exchange for fame, power, and fortune. We must condemn those who abandon community in the name of personal profit, and recognize that every Indian-American in public office does not have our best interests at heart. We must ally ourselves with progressives who actually understand our humanity.”

Aditya Rohit Shah

Separately, Boston Police Department issued a Community Advisory for events scheduled for Saturday, August 19, 2017 on the Boston Common.

“The Department has a comprehensive operational plan in place. While details of the plan are not for public release, those in attendance at the event can expect a large police presence of both uniformed and undercover officers. The Department will be deploying fixed video cameras and mobile video support teams to assist with keeping the event safe for all who attend,” Boston Police said on its website.  “Parking in and around the Boston Common will be prohibited. Signs have been posted, “No Stopping Boston Police Special Event” on effected roadways.”

Due to increased public safety concerns, those who plan on visiting the Boston Common on Saturday, are strongly urged not to bring backpacks, large bags or strollers. For those who choose to bring these items, please be advised that they may be subject to search, and there will be no storage area designated to leave the belongings.

In order to provide a safe and peaceful environment, the Boston Police Department has determined certain items be prohibited from the Boston Common.  Please see the list of prohibited items below:

  • Firearms, knives, weapons, sharp objects, shields or fireworks
  • Pop up tents or canopies
  • Cans, glass containers, pre-mixed beverages or alcoholic beverages
  • Wagons or pull carts
  • Coolers
  • Drones
  • Pets (excluding certified service animals)
  • Grills, propane tanks or open flames
  • Bicycles
  • Flag poles, bats, clubs, sticks (including signs attached to sticks)
  • Any athletic equipment or other item which could be used as a weapon.

“The Boston Police Department expects all who will be attending events on the Boston Common to act respectfully and responsibly. The Department intends to provide a safe and peaceful opportunity for people to exercise their Constitutional rights,” Boston Police said. Violence or property damage of any kind will not be tolerated. Anyone engaging in illegal behavior is subject to arrest and prosecution to the fullest extent of the law.”

An Indian-American, who will be attending the protest rally, urged members of the Indian-American community to attend the protest rally.

“The KKK and other such groups want you and your kids dead. I’m not exaggerating or making this up,” said the Indian-American protestor who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “Your singing groups, dance teams and cocktail parties are not going to keep you safe. Saying you’re proud to be Indian and celebrating your home country’s Independence Day isn’t going to keep you safe either. We need to come together as a community, ignoring differences in caste, creed, religion, language, skin shade, income bracket and country of origin and push back on this in a meaningful way.”

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