- The Washington Times - Friday, August 18, 2017

Saturday’s forecast for Boston calls for a sunny, slightly breezy day in the mid-80s — perfect weather for vendors plying their wares in the city’s most famous park. But a political storm on the horizon has washed out what should have been a bright day for the bottom line.

In an email earlier this week, the city’s parks department told licensed vendors that it was forbidding them from opening up shop on Saturday, citing safety concerns over a controversial planned demonstration.

“I do apologize for any inconvenience this causes, however, public safety is of the utmost importance to the City of Boston,” an official with the Boston Parks Department wrote to vendors in an email about the decision, MassLive.com reported Thursday.  

Organized by a group called Boston Free Speech, the Saturday demonstration is set to take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., according to a group event page on Facebook boasting 268 RSVPs and more than 550 saying they are interested in attending.

By contrast, a counter-protest organized by Black Lives Matter, the ANSWER Coalition and other left-leaning groups boasts 12,000 RSVPs and an addition 25,000 expressing interest on its Facebook event page.

For its part, Boston Free Speech renounces political violence, including the tactics of the left-wing “antifa” movement, saying that it “believe[s] that the way to defeat and disarm toxic ideas and ideologies is through dialogue and reason, and that attempting to silence any voice by force of mob or force of law only empowers the radical elements of society and divides us.”

Boston Free Speech’s leadership has said they reject racial hatred as exemplified by white nationalists in Charlottesville last week, the local CBS affiliate said.

For his part, Democratic Mayor Marty Walsh, citing counsel from the Southern Poverty Law Center, is urging citizens to just steer clear of the Common altogether.

“They say that interacting with these groups just gives them a platform to spread their message of hate,” Mr. Walsh said, CBS reported. “They recommend that people should not confront these rallies. So we’re urging everyone to stay away from the Common.”

Barricades separating the free-speech demonstration and counter-protesters will be erected Saturday, and some 500 police officers will be on hand, CBS reported.

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