The following is a Catholic Action League of Massachusetts press release…
The Catholic Action League of Massachusetts today condemned the violent assault on peaceful, law abiding pro-life citizens perpetrated, Sunday, by left wing extremists on Boston Common. The League also denounced the attempt by the Boston news media to impute moral equivalence between innocent victims and criminal assailants, and criticized the Boston Police Department for failing to defend the free speech rights of those engaged in a legal demonstration.
The March for Life—sponsored by Massachusetts Citizens For Life—has occurred annually, without incident, for nearly three decades. Proceeds from the march are used to fund local organizations dedicated to supporting the physical and emotional needs of pregnant women and children in crisis. The march is characterized by the recitation of prayers, the singing of hymns, and the delivery of speeches from the Parkman bandstand on Boston Common, the use of which is secured by the issuance of a permit from the City of Boston.
On Sunday, June 2nd, the march was invaded by a mob of thirty or more Antifa style thugs bent on disrupting the event and harassing and intimidating participants. Many wore bandana face masks. Two were carrying bull horns. Pro-lifers were subjected to a torrent of obscene gestures and verbal abuse, including profanities, taunts, expletives and invectives. Speakers on the bandstand were drowned out by the bullhorns and by the shouts of the mob.
There was also physical violence. At least two persons—one of them a woman—were pushed, at least two were spit upon, and at least two had drinks thrown at them. One person had urine thrown on him, while another was surrounded by a mob of masked men and had a bullhorn directed in his face.
The Boston Police responded to some acts of violence by making seven arrests and clearing members of the mob from the bandstand, but did not protect the First Amendment rights of march participants, many of whom could not hear the speakers because of the noisy disruption tactics of the mob. Section 37 of Chapter 265 of the General Laws of the Commonwealth prohibits interfering with or intimidating anyone in the exercise of their constitutional rights, such as free speech, the freedom of assembly, or the free exercise of religion, all of which were impeded last Sunday on Boston Common. None of those arrested, however, were so charged.
A news story on the march in The Boston Globe referred to “skirmishes” between equal numbers of “protesters” and “counter-protesters,” who “clashed.” Globe reporter Aimee Ortiz accused pro-lifers of trying to “drown out the opposition,” and claimed “It was not clear which side those arrested belonged to,” an assertion contradicted by the photographs in the Globe’s own story.
A Boston Herald article not only repeated the same misdirecting falsehood about a “clash,” but ran, as a headline, “…March for Life turns violent.” Television news reports on WBZ-CBS Boston, WHDH TV, WFXT TV, and New England Cable News all followed the same narrative about “clashes” and “confrontations.” An article in Boston Magazine listed the charges against those arrested, including assault and battery on a person over sixty, but still insisted “It was not clear whether those arrested were affiliated with either the pro-choice or pro-life demonstrators.”
Catholic Action League Executive Director C. J. Doyle made the following comment: “On June 2nd on Boston Common, a Marxist mob of totalitarian thugs perpetrated acts of physical violence against innocent Christians to deprive them of their constitutional rights. This was met by an underwhelming response from the Boston Police, who have a history, dating back to the 1990’s, of working to rule when it comes to left wing assaults against Catholics.”
“All of this was compounded by the grotesque dishonesty of the Boston media, who deliberately obscured the facts, by refusing to draw a distinction between victims and aggressors, leaving the public with the false impression that both sides were responsible for incidents of violence, and that peaceful pro-life citizens were engaged in confrontational behavior.”