Trump first criticizes, then applauds Boston protesters’
A crowd of counter-protesters clashes with Boston Police outside of the Boston Commons, Massachusetts, August 19, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)
Islam Times - US President Donald Trump has made contradictory remarks about thousands of protesters who took to the streets in Boston before a planned “Free Speech” right-wing rally on Saturday.
Trump initially described the thousands of peaceful counter-protesters as "anti-police agitators," but then applauded them.
However, he later tweeted, "Sometimes you need protest in order to heal, & we will heal, & be stronger than ever before!"
"I want to applaud the many protesters in Boston who are speaking out against bigotry and hate. Our country will soon come together as one!"
Nearly 40,000 people took part in the demonstrations held one week after violent clashes turned deadly in the Virginia town of Charlottesville, leaving one woman dead and several others injured.
Some 500 police officers were deployed to the city Saturday to avert possible confrontations, but police said the counter-protests were mostly peaceful.
"99.9% of the people were here for the right reason, and that was to fight bigotry and hate," said Police Commissioner William Evans.
Still, at least 27 arrests were made during the protests.
Trump’s first reaction to the peaceful demonstrators was criticized by the city’s mayor, Marty Walsh.
"Today Boston stood for peace and love, not bigotry and hate. We should work to bring people together, not apart," Walsh said on Twitter.
The president has been harshly criticized by many in the US and abroad after he blamed the Charlottesville violence on both sides of the conflict last weekend.
His messages have fueled the escalating rhetoric from "alt-right" figures and white supremacists across the United States and prompted local and federal law enforcement officials to warn about the potential for more violence in the coming days.
Many members of Trump's own Republican Party and US business executives have distanced themselves from him, while some others have quit their jobs.
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