A “Rally for the Republic” has been denied a permit for a November 18 event on Boston Common, but organizers say they’re going forward with their plans on their originally requested date.
The planned rally is being organized by a Resist Marxism, a group that bills itself as an “umbrella organization” of affiliates that “defend free speech from government suppression and violent mobs,” and co-sponsored by Boston Free Speech, according to Resist Marxism’s website.
On September 18, the group applied for a permit to host an event on Saturday, Nov. 18, at the Parkman Bandstand and accomodate up to 2,000 people. In an October 26 letter, Boston Parks Department Commissioner Christopher Cook said the permit application was denied because of the previously scheduled Camp Harbor View Citython 5K that morning on the Common.
Instead, the department issued organizers a permit for Sunday, Nov. 19, and said the group could seek another available date if they wanted.
“The event you are proposing is not compatible with the above-referenced road race previously permitted for the Parade Ground on Boston Common,” Cook wrote in the letter. “The logistics of your proposed 2,000 person event would interfere with the road race, post-race event, and breakdown of the facilities for those events.”
The 9 a.m. road race involves street closures, large tents, moving vehicles, and hundreds of families, which makes another large event incompatible to accommodate, Cook wrote. He also cited public safety measures required for the 10 a.m. rally, such as securing the perimeter of the Common from entering and exiting vehicles. There would also simply not be enough space to allow the free passage of both events’ expected crowds, as well as public safety personnel, Cook wrote.
Resist Marxism issued a press release Friday that said the city did not respond in time and that they will hold their rally on November 18 as originally planned, permit or not.
“We have a right to peaceably assemble under the 1st amendment of the Constitution and will exercise that right,” the group said. “It is regrettable that the city of Boston could not approve or deny the permit within a reasonable amount of time or within 10 business days as stated in the Department of Parks and Recreation Permits Guide.”
In the release, Resist Marxism said that their group and others sponsoring the event “were forced to make plans without the knowledge of whether the permit would be approved” and had already made flight and hotel arrangements.
“It is too late to move the event to another day,” they said. “Therefore, the rally will be held on November 18th as planned.”
In response, Walsh’s office reiterated that the area was already booked and encouraged organizers to work with the Parks and Recreation Department to find “a suitable date.”
In August, a free speech rally on the Common drew an estimated 40,000 protesters marching through the streets of Boston.
Cook’s letter was first reported Friday evening by 7News.
— Sharman Sacchetti (@SharmanTV) October 27, 2017