BOSTON, Mass. (NEWS CENTER) -- Among the thousands of counter-protesters gathered in Boston Saturday to rally in opposition to a conservative group were contingents of people from Maine representing anti-hate groups.
Mainers for Accountable Leadership as well as the Kittery and Eliot Democrats traveled to Boston to speak out against what the conservative group called a "Free Speech Rally."
"If we don't let them speak, then none of us have first amendment rights. They certainly have first amendment rights. I have the right to disagree with what they're saying," said Kathleen Mara, one of the Kittery Democrats.
Mainers for Accountable Leadership spent the week fundraising for a non-profit called "Life After Hate," which helps people who are ready to leave behind hateful ideologies. MAL raised more than $8,000.
Counter-protesters verbally confronted those who displayed beliefs aligning with the "alt-right," white nationalism, or any hate group.
Counter-protesters yelling at a man who was wearing a Trump flag like a cape. pic.twitter.com/TANnn1HcFF— Chris Costa (@ChrisCostaTV) August 19, 2017
The altercations remained mostly non-violent, with hundreds of police officers from all over Boston ready to mitigate any outbursts. Some still felt concerned that violence could break out, despite the thousands of counter-protesters compared to the small group gathered on the bandstand.
"My immediate thought was they picked the wrong city," said Angela King, one of the co-founders of Life After Hate, who was invited to Boston by the group from Maine.
King is a former skinhead who co-founded Life After Hate. She said she separated from hateful ideologies after a woman in prison taught her to play cribbage while King was serving a sentence for a hate crime.
“The kind of messaging we use – there is life after hate – they see it. They can never go back and not see that message again, King said.