A Tea Party tax day protest and counter-demonstration in Boston got testy over the weekend, with the confrontation reportedly leading to a speaker telling a group of LGBT activists that they wouldn't be "silenced by faggots."
Scott Wooledge relays the supposed slur in a lengthy post at Daily Kos breaking down the encounter between Tea Partyers, counter-protesters from numerous progressive groups and police officers.
Reports from attendees were that in response to disturbances by protestors, one of the speakers said from the podium, broadcast across the loud speakers at the Commons, "We will not be silenced by faggots."
(See update below.)
The comment reportedly came while police were being dispatched to break up the counter-demonstration against, among other things, the presence and honoring of anti-gay activist Scott Lively at the event.
Photographers also documented at least one instance of police appearing to get physical with the pro-LGBT presence:
(Photo via Paul Weiskel/Flickr)
The protester in the picture above later wrote in to Back2Stonewall to recount the experience:
Two of our protesters were arrested, and I moved away from the crowd to show solidarity with them and follow as they were arrested. After that, I moved back into the crowd, and a Tea Partier knocked the wig off my head. I picked it up said to him “Why do you think it’s okay to knock my wig off my head?” He replied “Oh, my hand slipped."
I was going to continue talking to him but then the officer in the picture approached me and said “okay, take your shit and get out of here," shoving me back. I said to him “Don’t shove me.” He then said “Don’t shove you!?” and then choked me, for a short period of time. My comrades reacted pretty quick, taking those pictures, getting his badge number, etc. He was rough with several other people, grabbing one of my comrades’ phone out of his hand when he tried to take a picture etc.
Boston police said Monday that they would be reviewing the conduct of their officers following the circulation of the photo above.
"The department will need an appropriate amount of time to properly determine the context of the photo and what took place before and after," Boston police spokeswoman Elaine Driscoll said in an e-mail calling the protesters "unruly and combative," according to the Boston Globe.
"The aggressive nature of these individuals required officers to call for numerous additional units to respond," Driscoll continued. "As we always do after a day of aggressive protests, the department will review all of the activity that took place during the course of the day including the photos that have surfaced from the event."
UPDATE -- 4/24:
Reports of video from the event have surfaced that show speaker Scott Lively telling the crowd, "We will not be silenced by fascists." It is unclear whether Lively is the same speaker referenced in initial reports, or whether this is the remark that was initially reported above.
UPDATE -- 4/26:
This wasn't the only Tea Party event in Massachusetts on Sunday. A rival event in Worcester tried to distance itself from the Bosten event -- both physically and philosophically. Some of the state's Tea Party groups also sent messages to members discouraging them from attending the Boston rally. Check out the Boston Globe for more on the rift.