| August 31, 2019 12:58 PM
Updated Aug 31, 2019, 02:05 PM
Police prepared for conflict on Saturday in Boston as the “Straight Pride Parade” was set to begin. The small crowd that gathered in support of the parade was met with signs and protesters who seemed to outnumber the parade attendees in the early hours.
Boston police donned riot gear in anticipation of potential violence, as the parade was expected to feature an appearance by conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, who was set to be the grand marshal and mascot for the parade. Organizers for the parade, Super Happy Fun America, were able to secure their permit through the city of Boston in July.
Yiannopoulos, who is openly gay, defended the mission of the parade in a June statement.
“I might technically be a sequined and perfectly coiffed friend of Dorothy’s, but I’ve spent my entire career advocating for the rights of America’s most brutally repressed identity — straight people — so I know a thing or two about discrimination,” he said at the time.
The Proud Boys, a far-right group that often clashes with far-left antifa during demonstrations and gatherings, are also expected to make an appearance in Boston for the Saturday parade.
As of early Saturday afternoon, severe conflicts seemed to be held at bay. Some videos shared to social media showed a small amount of protesters booing the parade participants, but no violent clashes have been reported.
There seemed to be some confusion about when the parade was meant to begin, and chief organizer from Super Happy Fun America John Hugo was overheard telling parade participants, “Don’t worry, Milo will be here.”
Some reports indicated that police were limiting the amount of participants in the parade, and at least one arrest of a counterprotester was made. Video and pictures show a significant presence of counterprotests as the parade got closer to its starting point.
Yiannopoulos was first spotted shortly before 1 p.m. donning a glittering “Make America Great Again” hat. The parade began a short time after, and police began using physical force to maintain order as emotions on both sides ran high.
“First arrest. Batons out,” said a tweet from a reporter on the scene.
One counterprotester, known as “Ryan the Satanist,” was ejected from the event by group organizers after he was struck and fell to the ground.
Parade has started. I’d estimate it’s about 300 people. It marches from Copley to City Hall plaza.
Local antifascists told me earlier this month they plan to throw a bloc party. Unclear where. pic.twitter.com/n0NwMW45zV
— Ryan Broderick (@broderick)
August 31, 2019
Some back and forth between a guy dressed as a shark holding a “Straigtht Lives Matter” sign and a heckler on the side, here at the Straight Pride Parade in Boston. pic.twitter.com/2g16NnVaKW
— Joey Garrison (@joeygarrison)
August 31, 2019
These two men traveled for 8 hours from Pennsylvania to Boston Straight Pride to represent the banned reddit subreddit /r/frenworld one is holding a pillow of Youtuber Sargon of Akkad pic.twitter.com/1i6HT8W8i1
— Sam Bishop (@sebishop99)
August 31, 2019