Guest Op-Ed: The May 31 protests in the City of Boston

By Councilor Michael Flaherty

On Monday morning Bostonians woke up to a City destroyed by the actions of those who took over and desecrated an otherwise peaceful and meaningful protest with acts of violence and destruction. Their actions are unacceptable, disgraceful, and served as a disservice to those who showed up to protest peacefully. I want to thank the Boston Police Department, Boston Fire Department, Boston Emergency Medical Services, and other first responders who worked hard all night to protect our City and it’s residents. I pray for anyone injured last night protecting our City.

To the thousands who participated in the initial peaceful march honoring the legacy of Mr. George Floyd and calling for change that returned home after its completion, I thank you. I am sorry that those with ill-intentions usurped the narrative of your event and put your lives and cause in danger.

As a City, as a community and as neighbors, we must choose how we move forward. The path forward may not be clear yet, but I do know that we need to walk it together. As an elected official, I am committed to bringing government, community, law enforcement, and activists together to sit at the table and ensure these protests result in deeper understanding and positive, measurable results. I want to both ensure the thousands who participated in this event have their voices heard and their goals achieved, while also ensuring that those who perpetuated violence and destruction are held fully accountable and that their actions are not repeated, glorified, or seen as acceptable in the City of Boston.

Michael Flaherty is a City Councilor at-Large in Boston.

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