(As events warrant, we’ll update this post at the top.)

12:35 – Color me pleasantly surprised. The speaking portion of the Free Speech rally at Boston Commons has ended and the police are currently working on moving a lot of the rally participants out of the area in police vehicles to keep them away from much larger group of Antifa counter-protesters. Seeing scattered reports of a few arrests and there are some who are trying to block the exiting police vehicles, but for the most part it was just screaming without the actual fighting. Congrats to Boston’s finest. This could have gotten ugly quickly (and until everyone is cleared out I suppose it still could) but for the most part it went as well as or even better than I could have expected. If nothing else of note happens, this is a wrap. Good job on both sides.

12:35 – We’re not very far into events and we’ve already seen some thankfully low level action. One woman holding an American flag had it grabbed and she was dragged along the ground for a ways. Wound up crying, but apparently not seriously injured. Meanwhile, the Antifa is out in force. As this Fox News video shows, many of them showed up wearing black bandanas over their faces. But those are the exceptions. The Left has a lot of marchers with signs and their faces uncovered. Video is only about three minutes.

(Original article follows.)

After this event was scheduled, canceled, rescheduled and debated, it appears that we’re ready to go. Despite arguments between the Boston Free Speech rally organizers and the city over the issuance of permits, the proper paperwork was filed and the rally participants were allowed to begin setting up at 10 o’clock, with the march scheduled to begin at noon local time. (Over the vocal opposition of the Mayor.) Everyone is on edge after the events in Charlottesville, and none but the most ghoulish would want to see a repeat of what happened last weekend. Hopefully the security precautions will be up to snuff, and the for their part, the city is claiming to be ready. (CBS Boston)

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is urging people to stay away from a planned Free Speech Rally scheduled for Saturday on Boston Common.

Walsh made the comments Friday as he discussed security for the event alongside Boston Police Commissioner William Evans and Gov. Charlie Baker…

A total of 500 police officers will be present at the rally, and several hundred more are available if necessary.

Fencing and security cameras were installed on Boston Common’s Parkman Bandstand Friday morning as police continue safety preparations ahead of Saturday’s planned rally.

Judging by the on-the-ground news coverage, they have barricades set up which are intended to keep the two groups of rally participants and counter protesters separated. Several hundred police will be on hand to attempt to make that happen. All I can say is… good luck with that.

We can always hope, though. Perhaps the free speech marchers will stay within the confines of the area specified in their permit and deliver their message succinctly. Maybe the counter-protesters will remain off to the sides, offering a polite rebuttal. Personally I think that’s about as likely as my chances of riding the winning horse at the Preakness next year, but who knows? Maybe it will happen.

But let’s take the pessimistic view for a moment here and suppose that it doesn’t. What if there’s some screaming which leads to shoving which leads to physical assaults. (And let us pray it doesn’t escalate to loss of life.) If the rally participants start it then they’ll deserve what they get. But what if the liberal “no hate” crowd once again starts throwing the firsts punches? Given the Mayor’s attitude thus far, is there any reason to believe that he’s got the police primed and ready to beat back the counter-demonstrators and protect the rally participants?

It would be nice to think so. And, yet again, anything is possible. Perhaps Mayor Walsh will do just that and keep the peace. But if he doesn’t will the media report on it? It’s not a very popular subject with most of them. But keep in mind that the public doesn’t seem to be buying it. That recent poll we covered here indicates that a plurality of Americans believe that the “far right” groups weren’t to blame for the violence spiraling out of control in Charlottesville. And there will be so many cameras rolling in Boston that there should be some video evidence of who starts any trouble if it comes to that.

Cross your fingers and say a prayer.