Day of commemoration, disruption
Page 2 of 2 -- After leaving the demonstration, Billy Roper, chairman of White Revolution, called the protest ''a lot of fun" and said it successfully helped spread his organization's message. ''We really feel that the cause of 9-11 was America's support of the terrorist state of Israel," Roper said. He praised the police for protecting his members. ''I'm very much a fan of the Boston Police Department after seeing the way they did things," Roper said.
Officers arrested two people yesterday, spokesman John Boyle said. Jerome Higgins, 25, of Everett, and Shireen Chambers, 36, of Dorchester, are scheduled to be arraigned today in Boston Municipal Court for fighting and disturbing the peace, Boyle said. Officers allegedly saw Chambers punch Higgins in the face and Higgins then spit in Chambers' face and return the blow with a sign.
Most of the counterdemonstrators at yesterday's event came from communist, anarchist, and anti-war groups that had galvanized support over the Internet. They included teenagers with their faces hidden in bandanas, union organizers in jeans, and college students in baseball caps. They marched in a circle, held a giant banner reading ''Stop the Nazis Now," and chanted, ''Nazi scum, run and hide, we charge you with genocide."
''I think it's important that nothing like this is allowed to happen without being answered," said Laura Garza, 46, a garment worker from East Boston who held a sign supporting immigrant rights. ''They're a smallish group," she said of the white supremacists across the street, ''but some of the things they raise are reflected in regular politics."
Max Waldroop, 15, a student at Brookline High School, stood crying with blood running from the side of his eye after he said an officer hit him with a baton. (Police said they had no reports of protestors being hit.) Waldroop said his grandfather's service in the British Army during World War II inspired him to protest White Revolution. ''It's just a little scratch," said Waldroop, who is Jewish, as he wiped his eye. ''Two-thousand years of persecution, this is nothing."
Nearby, a dozen animal-rights activists held signs protesting veal, in an unrelated demonstration. ''We're here every Mother's Day," said Helen Rayshick, 54, of Barre, who waved a sign saying, ''Another Grandma Boycotting Veal."
''But of course," Rayshick said, nodding toward the other protestors near her, ''we're on the side of freedom for all beings."
Lou Winer, 75, a retired accountant from Boston, who said he left Poland just before the Nazi invasion, said he was heartened by the demonstration against White Revolution. ''It's a way to remind people that they should never let their guard down," Winer said, a felt cap tucked over his silver hair. ''They should always be on the lookout for certain troublemakers."
Speaking to reporters before the commemoration, Romney had strong words for the protestors. ''Today of all days, to have white supremacists come here from Arkansas is most disappointing, disgusting, and I wish they'd go back home where they came from and bury themselves under the rocks that they crawled out from."
Rabbi Moshe Waldoks, speaking during the event, carried a similar message. ''We do not wish to transfer pain on to the next generation," he said. ''We try to transfer awareness, openness of heart, the possibility of holding in one mind all that's good in all people of good will."