Boston Mayor Michelle Wu and City Council President Ed Flynn strongly condemned a Saturday look by the white nationalist group, Patriot Front, which joined a faith-based protest outdoors a Satanic convention in Copley Square.
Clad in khakis and blue hooded sweatshirts with their faces hidden behind scarves and hats, their roughly hour-long look was additionally denounced by Satanists and Christians alike, the 2 teams who have been most at odds throughout SatanCon 2023.
“Boston stands firmly against the hateful ideology of white supremacist groups, and their presence is not welcome here,” Wu and Flynn mentioned in a joint assertion emailed to the Herald.
Unlike final summer time, the place authorities mentioned they’d no advance data of Patriot Front’s plans to show and march via Boston streets, scanner exercise late Saturday morning indicated police had a heads up that the group was on its approach to Copley Square. They arrived shortly earlier than 12:30 p.m.
“I left my apartment, was walking down the street and I saw them,” mentioned Jadon Sweat. “I’ve seen them on social media and I stopped and was like, Oh my God. There’s the white nationalists, right a block away from where I live, which was pretty scary for me.”
Patriot Front additionally scared off a bunch of the unique Christian protesters who gathered outdoors SatanCon 2023, a three-day convention hosted by the Satanic Temple, on Saturday.
A Herald photographer noticed the demonstrators rapidly packing up and leaving their put up after members of the white nationalist group approached them to ask for a priest.
Brendan Hunter, a Christian who was protesting the Satanic conference on Saturday, denounced the white nationalists’ look, saying that he does “not condone supremacy of any kind, based on race color.”
“We are a lot of different groups here,” Hunter mentioned. “That’s the thing. So a lot of us are getting combined. And there are some ways that people are proclaiming Jesus that I don’t agree with.”
Aron Ra, a widely known atheist activist who traveled from Dallas to attend this weekend’s convention, described members of Patriot Front as Christian nationalists.
“They’re our version of the Nazis in World War II,” Ra mentioned. “They were Christian nationalists as well. So they are the same problem. They want to impose their position, their supremacy, and treat everyone else as inferior if you don’t think and believe like they do.”
He added, “And the reason you have to think and believe like they do is because they want to manipulate. It’s about social control. They want to impose and force everyone to be as they tell them to be. They don’t want independence. They don’t want science. They are wholly against that.”
Ra mentioned he was raised by a household that’s predominantly Mormon, however ultimately grew to become turned off by the inter-hate that happens inside religions. He mentioned he’s affiliated with the Satanic Temple, which regardless of its identify, doesn’t imagine in Satan as a supernatural being.
“It’s a body of ethics,” Ra mentioned. “I like to say that Satanism is humanism dressed up for a black metal concert. We have the seven tenets, which adhere to science, and say that your perspective should be based on your best understanding of science, and that you should never change science to fit your position.”
Members of Patriot Front declined an interview with the Herald, however did converse with Sweat outdoors a Green Line station on Boylston Street, the place they marched to take the T after demonstrating outdoors a lodge at Copley Place for roughly 40 minutes.
Sweat mentioned a member informed him that “they’re reclaiming America” from individuals who have taken away their “international capital.” According to a pamphlet the group was handing out, their purpose was to “defend American labor.”
“We want lives of honesty and dignity, but all we are offered by the politicians and corporations both is the imaginary choice between blue-collared squalor and white-collared thievery,” the pamphlet states.
The presence of white nationalists in Boston didn’t spark violence like final summer time, however it did inflame tensions, notably outdoors the MBTA station, the place there was a number of yelling forwards and backwards between the group and counter-protesters.
Had there not been about six cops on bicycles monitoring the verbal dispute, “it probably could have gotten physical,” Sweat mentioned. A Boston Police Department spokesman mentioned there have been no arrests made on Saturday.
Despite his willingness to have what he described as a civil dialog with members of Patriot Front, Sweat mentioned he wished to make it clear that he was “very against” what they have been saying.
“I do not like those guys,” he mentioned.