Proud Boys rally for free speech, protest bias in social media in D.C.

Protesters and counter protesters clash near Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C. Saturday. Photo by Tasos Katopodis/UPI

July 7 (UPI) — An extremist group with ties to white nationalism attracted about 250 supporters to its Demand Free Speech rally Saturday in protest of anti-conservative bias on social media.

The Proud Boys group, which formed in 2016, received a police escort through the streets of Washington D.C. The Proud Boys chanted “I like beer,” an apparent reference to Senate testimony from Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh last year.

At least two police officers were seen fist-bumping the Proud Boys as they walked by.

The group has been banned from Facebook and Instagram because of the social media groups’ policies toward hate groups, which prompted the free speech rally.

But counter protesters, including 50 anti-fascist or Antifa members, outnumbered them 2-1.

Patricia James, 59, traveled from Anaheim, Calif., for the “Salute to America” program on July 4th and for the Demand Free Speech rally to defend the First Amendment. She live streamed the rally and the counter protesters on Facebook.

“I have no idea why they would protest freedom of speech,” James said. “The only countries that don’t allow freedom of speech are socialist, communist countries. If anybody wants that, like those people over there, they can go live in those countries and see what happens.”

On July 4, the Proud Boys scuffled with members of the Revolutionary Communist Party, who had permits to burn American flags in Lafayette Square. Two Proud Boys were arrested and a third person was handcuffed at the scene and later released.


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