Despite arresting more than two dozen people, being pelted with rocks and bottles and confiscating everything from sticks and flagpoles to bulletproof vests and a gun, police officials applauded the work of the hundreds of Hub cops who controlled a mostly peaceful crowd of 40,000 counterprotesters yesterday.

“99.9 percent of the people here were here for the right reason, and that’s to fight bigotry and hate,” pol- ice Commissioner William B. Evans said yesterday afternoon. “The plan went off the way we hoped to, and … nobody got hurt seriously, in fact very little injury, very little property damage.”

Long before tens of thousands of demonstrators descended on Boston Common, the Parkman Bandstand, where the so-called “Free Speech Rally” was held, was surrounded by officers and at least two separate police barriers that separated the two groups by hundreds of feet.

“We didn’t want what happened in Virginia to happen here; we didn’t want them at each others’ throats,” Evans said. “We had a plan, we kept the distance, no one got hurt, we have no vandalism, no nothing.”

President Trump applauded the work of local cops, tweeting: “Looks like many anti-police agitators in Boston. Police are looking tough and smart! Thank you…Great job by all law enforcement officers and Boston Mayor @Marty_Walsh.”

Although the massive crowd was mostly peaceful throughout the day, there were some moments when tensions threatened to boil over.

When the Free Speech Rally ended early, Evans said officers escorting the dozens of rallygoers to waiting police vans found themselves surrounded, which prompted officials to call in police in riot gear to move the crowd.

Separately, state police said about 200 protesters faced off with police when they tried to enter a restricted area behind the State House.

Evans said the Boston Police Department made 27 arrests, mostly for disorderly conduct, with several arrests for assault and battery on police officers. Boston EMS said they treated 37 patients with minor injuries and BPD said they confiscated three bulletproof vests and one firearm. Evans said some officers were also hit with bottles — some that were filled with urine — rocks and traffic cones.


(c)2017 the Boston Herald

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