A group of Boston politicians has 'proactively' written to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) ahead of this year’s South Boston St. Patrick’s Day parade in light of last year's neo-Nazi stunt.
In a letter issued to MBTA Chief Kenneth Green on March 4, five Boston politicians requested a meeting “to collaborate on a security plan for our public transit system to ensure a safe and inclusive event for all.”
The letter said, in part: “In 2022, MBTA passengers and parade watchers had the unfortunate experience of enduring the presence of the Nationalist Social Club (NSC-131), a neo-Nazi group with chapters based in the New England region.
“We know that this group’s members traveled to into the capital city on public transit via our MBTA and Commuter Rail system.
“On Parade Day, they defaced public property on the T and in the city with a hateful propaganda.
“This along with the excessive transport and consumption of alcohol by underage individuals cannot be tolerated.”
The letter was signed by Congressman Stephen Lynch, State Senator Nick Collins, State Representative David BIele, City Council President Edward Flynn, and City Councilor At-Large Michael F. Flaherty. Flynn shared the letter on Twitter:
#Southie Electeds& I requesting security meeting w/ @MBTA ahead of St Patrick's Day Parade. Last year, neo-Nazi group came into City via MBTA &defaced public property w/ hateful propaganda. Must call out, disavow hate & ensure this year's event is safe &inclusive for all #Bospoli pic.twitter.com/6NP18X86rN— Ed Flynn 愛德華費連 (@EdforBoston) March 5, 2023
The 2023 South Boston St. Patrick's Day Parade is expected to draw 1 million people to South Boston on Sunday, March 20, with many arriving via MBTA.
At last year's parade, members of the Nationalist Social Club / NSC 131, a neo-Nazi group, hung a banner that read "Keep Boston Irish" and featured the neo-Nazi group's logo along the parade route.
The neo-Nazi group's presence at the parade was condemned afterward by both parade organizers and elected officials who insisted the group was "not welcome" and that the display was "disgusting."
Despite the condemnations, the neo-Nazi group posted a video online that showed their activities at the parade for the day, including handing out fliers that said in part "if you love your heritage and your city, join us!" and "above all, we stand for the security and prosperity of white New Englanders."
The song featured in the neo-Nazi group's video was "The Boys are Back" by Irish American rock group Dropkick Murphys, who, after being alerted to the matter, sounded off on Twitter: "F----- Losers. Stop using our song for your little dress up party video. We will SMASH you."
“We want to make sure that those who are coming in feel safe, and that those who want to come in and cause know that that won’t be tolerated," State Senator Collins said at a news conference the day the group of politicians issued their letter to the MBTA.
"We're trying to be proactive," Collins said, adding, "Those who want to use public property and deface public property, they'll be held accountable."
According to WCVB, Transit Police Superintendent Richard Sullivan said: "The Transit Police is committed to ensuring all individuals coming into the St. Patrick's Day Parade via the MBTA feel safe and are free from any form of intimidation and harassment."
Sullivan added: "The Transit Police department will have an enhanced security plan surrounding this family-oriented event honoring tradition and service."
Collins separately told WGBH: “Folks are concerned about the curtailing of free speech and the First Amendment. We're not talking about that. They defaced public property, and that's against the law. So we're sending the message out that if you break the law, you'll be held accountable.”
After the group's letter was issued, City Council President Flynn told The Boston Globe: "This is a city that respects people of color and our immigrant roots.
“We are an inclusive city, and we treat everyone with respect and dignity.
“Any type of hate speech or hate crimes will not be tolerated."
A city spokesperson further told the Globe that Mayor Michelle Wu’s office is working with the Boston Police Department to ensure the St. Patrick’s Day parade is a “safe and welcoming event” for all residents and visitors.
“Boston will not tolerate hate, and we will not be intimidated in our work to build a city for everyone,” the spokesperson said.