Police in Boston were gearing up for possible clashes Saturday between “Straight Pride Parade” demonstrators supportive of President Donald Trump and counter-protesters who accuse them of being homophobic and extremist.
A group calling itself Super Happy Fun America has organized the controversial parade in response to the hugely popular gay pride parades that take place in US cities every year.
Critics say organizers are white-supremacists whose intent is to bait members of the LGBT community in one of America’s most liberal cities, and have arranged demonstrations to oppose it.
“There are no racists in our group. You have to come to one of our meetings: it’s like the United Nations,” president John Hugo told AFP, defending the parade.
The demonstrations come as tensions simmer between leftists and white nationalists in the United States.
Two weeks ago, a far-right rally and counter-demonstration by anti-fascist protestors in the city of Portland passed with no major incident amid a heavy police presence.
Super Happy Fun America’s website says Saturday’s march is to “spread awareness of issues impacting straights,” describing heterosexuals as “an oppressed majority” in Massachusetts, the first US state to legalize same-sex marriage.
But the parade will have a clear political slant too, with participants due to walk alongside pro-Trump floats. The group’s website displays a doctored photo of Trump holding a sign saying #GreatToBeStraight.
Prominent members of America’s far-right movement, known as the “alt-right,” are scheduled to speak, including former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos, who has been banned from several social media sites.
Enrique Tarrio, a member of the all-male “Proud Boys” organization, which has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, is also due to attend.
Some 1,200 people are planning to join the parade, which starts at noon (1600 GMT) in Copley Square and ends at Boston City Hall around a mile and a half (2.4 kilometers) away, according to a Facebook group.
Police will cordon off the area and have said they will deploy uniformed and undercover officers along the route.
Several anti-Trump organizations and gay rights supporters have said they will try to block the parade. At least two counter-protests are planned, the first starting at 9:00 am.
“We are certainly not going to start any violence but we will defend ourselves if we have to,” said Hugo, 56.
A “Straight Pride” held last Saturday in Modesto, California attracted only a few dozen people and about 250 counter-protesters, according to local newspaper The Modesto Bee.
US planning to slash troops in Germany: report
US President Donald Trump has ordered the Pentagon to slash the number of troops it maintains in Germany by more than a quarter in the coming months, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
The newspaper said the Defense Department would cut the number of military personnel by 9,500 from the current 34,500 permanently assigned to Germany postings.
The Journal also said a cap of 25,000 would be set on how many US troops could be inside German at any one time, whether in permanent postings or temporary rotations, half of the current allowance.
The move would significantly reduce the US commitment to European defense under the NATO umbrella, though it could also impact Pentagon operations related to Africa and the Middle East.
Manhattan DA announces protesters arrested by NYPD will not be charged: ‘Our office has a moral imperative’
The Manhattan District Attorney announced on Friday that his office would not be prosecuting protesters arrested for low-level crimes.
Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, Jr. announced that Unlawful Assembly and Disorderly Conduct would not be prosecuted during the demonstrations over police violence.
"“The prosecution of protestors charged with these low-level offenses undermines critical bonds between law enforcement and the communities we serve. Days after the killing of George Floyd, our nation and our city are at a crossroads in our continuing endeavor to confront racism and systemic injustice wherever it exists. Our office has a moral imperative to enact public policies which assure all New Yorkers that in our justice system and our society, black lives matter and police violence is a crime. We commend the thousands of our fellow New Yorkers who have peacefully assembled to demand these achievable aims, and our door is open to any New Yorker who wishes to be heard," Vance said in a statement.
Chicago Police Board president files complaint alleging he was struck 5 times by cops at George Floyd protest
On Friday, WTTW reported that Ghian Foreman, the president of the Chicago Police Board, has filed a complaint alleging he was beaten in the legs five times by police officers at a protest against the killing of George Floyd last Sunday.
The Chicago Police Board is an independent civilian commission that has power over police disciplinary cases.
"Foreman filed a complaint with the Citizens Office of Police Accountability alleging that he was struck by at least one officer during a protest sparked by the death of George Floyd in the custody of Minneapolis police, said Ephraim Eaddy, a spokesperson for the agency," said the report. "Foreman’s complaint, which identifies the officer Foreman said struck him, is one of 344 complaints of police misconduct filed with COPA between midnight May 29 and 7 a.m. Friday, Eaddy said. The complaint itself is confidential."