Mayor Walsh and Police Commissioner Evans said today they don't know if white supremacists and Nazis will actually show up on the Common on Saturday, but said they're taking no chances - Boston and State Police will be out in force to stop any nonsense.
At a City Hall conference also attended by Gov. Baker and a large contingent of other city and state officials, Walsh said the supposed group behind an alleged "free speech" rally on the Common has yet to ask the city for a permit to hold a demonstration. And while Boston supports the First Amendment, he made it clear he doesn't want a pro-separatist rally on the Common, especially not a week after Charlottesville.
"Boston doesn't welcome you here, Boston doesn't want you here, we reject your message," Walsh said. "We stand against hatred, we stand against racism, we stand against the terrorism that we all witnessed this weekend."
And, he continued, if the protesters do show up, "we will not tolerate incitements to violence." Evans said most fringe groups - including the Westboro Baptist Church - actually seek out a permit and welcome police oversight, because they realize they realize the police will work to protect them from the larger mass of protesters.
Evans added BPD will also work to prevent anarchists from stirring up trouble. Evans said uniformed officers will work to keep the protesters and counter protesters separate - through barriers and lines of police bikes if need be - and that additional "patrol platoons" from both BPD and State Police will be waiting in buses just in case.
Undercover officers will also be out in force, he said, adding that if violence does erupt, "we'll pull [the protesters] out of there and get them out of the area as quickly as we can," he said. "We're not going to tolerate anybody getting hurt."
He added, "it's pretty said we have to waste so many resources" on something like this, rather than "on the safety of the children of the city.'
"We will make sure that what happened in Virginia does not take place in Massachusetts," Baker said.
People opposed to the idea of Nazis demonstrating in Boston have already begun work on a march and counter-rally on the Common. Baker said he's thinking about attending what he said he preferred to call a "unity rally," in sympathy with the people of Charlottesville.
Unlike his party's titular leader, Baker immediately denounced the "act of terrorism" by the Virginia Nazis.
"What happened in Charlottesville, simply put, was an act of terrorism," he said, adding he rejects the idea that one's birthplace or skin color "makes them superior to their neighbors.
Baker did not directly answer a question of whether he thinks Trump should continue as leader of his party, saying he made that decision clear last fall - when he said he wouldn't vote for either major presidential candidate. Baker said he remains committed to a Republican Party of "freedom and opportunity and big-tent collaboration" and that blacks simply don't feel Trump is listening to them. He said he doesn't get why Trump took two days to specifically denounce Nazis and white supremacists.
Among those at the press conference was City Councilor Josh Zakim, the council's only Jewish member, who said he's gotten calls from people worried about an apparent change in climate.
"It's a scary time," he said. "Who would ever have imagined I'd be at a press conference about Nazis in 2017?" However, he remains confident that "Boston continues to be a safe city" for Jews.