White supremacists marched through Boston's city center and fought with a Black man yesterday, triggering a civil rights investigation into the group's presence.
A little after noon, police became aware of the extremist group's presence. A white nationalist group, Patriot Front, had assembled members for a march through downtown Boston, according to the Boston Herald.
A rental truck unloaded several shields and flags near a transit station in Haymarket at about 12:30 p.m. The banners included U.S. flags flown upside down, 13 stars in a circle for the original 13 colonies, and right-wing extremist symbols.
Videos posted to social media show Patriot Front members marching with several flags that also featured Mussolini's symbol for the National Fascist Party.
"If you truly wish for safety, you will have it. But you can take nothing else with you," an unmasked group member said through a bullhorn when the marchers stopped in front of the Boston Public Library among shouts from onlookers, the Herald reports. "Not your home, not your family, not your liberty. There you will be alone with your safety in a rot[ting] world."
At about 1:25 p.m., Boston Police received a report of an adult Black man being injured during a confrontation with Patriot Front members.
As the man walked down Dartmouth Street, he said a group of Patriot Front members pushed him, according to Boston Police Department chief spokesman Sgt. Detective John Boyle.
Online photos show a fight between one Black man and the group.
After being knocked to the ground, the man was taken to Tufts Medical Center with cuts to his head, eyebrow, and right ring finger.
No arrests have yet been made in connection with the incident. However, there is a civil rights investigation underway.
Mayor Michelle Wu, a Democrat, responded to the incident with a tweet "To the white supremacists who ran through downtown today: When we march, we don't hide our faces. Your hate is as cowardly as it is disgusting, and it goes against all that Boston stands for."
"The disgusting, hateful actions and words of white supremacist groups are not welcome in this city. Especially in a moment when so many of our rights are under attack, we will not normalize intimidation by bigots," Wu said in a later statement, according to CBS News. "This weekend, as we remember Boston's legacy as the cradle of liberty, we celebrate the continued fight to expand those liberties for all and ensure that Boston will be a city for everyone."
The marchers wore matching khaki pants, navy or dark-colored polo shirts, bandanas or similar coverings over their lower faces, sunglasses, and ball caps — typical for extremist group members.
The crowd marched down Commonwealth Avenue before turning toward Dartmouth Street toward Boylston and stopping at the Boston Public Library area at 1:14 p.m., according to a Herald photographer at the scene.
Patriot Front is classified as white nationalists or white supremacists by the Southern Poverty Law Center and Anti-Defamation League.
Police in Idaho arrested 31 Patriot Front members last month in a U-Haul loaded with shields on their way to Coeur d'Alene's Pride in the Park.