Anti-Defamation League says hate incidents on the rise in Massachusetts – WCVB Boston

Posted By on August 18, 2017

BOSTON

The upcoming Boston Free Speech rally being organized by a local alt-right" organization is raising serious concerns about hate crimes, but are those types of incidents actually on the rise in Massachusetts?

The New England office of the Anti-Defamation League said Massachusetts has seen a dramatic increase in hate incidents and the state is also home to more hate groups.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, there are now more than 900 hate groups across the U.S., including 12 here in Massachusetts.

Those dozen organizations include neo-Nazi groups in Lowell and Cambridge, and a statewide racist skinhead group.

The Anti-Defamation League said hate-fueled vandalism is up sharply over the last year, pointing to an incident in July in Marblehead where someone spray-painted anti-Semitic and white supremacist graffiti on a seawall.

The ADL's New England executive director, Robert Trestan, said he believes the current political climate is contributing to the increase in hate incidents and he has concerns about who could show up at this weekend's rally.

There is always the possibility of others who have more extreme views, even white supremacists, coming to use this as an opportunity, Trestan said.

Asked if he thinks the rally could turn violent, he said: There's always a risk at events like this. Hopefully the planning that is going into this both from the organizers side of things and also from the city and police side of things, people can come express themselves and go home without incident.

Trestan said he hopes counterprotesters do not go to the Boston Common on Saturday to avoid a confrontation, which could lead to trouble.

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Anti-Defamation League says hate incidents on the rise in Massachusetts - WCVB Boston

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