Marching From the Common

THE Bobby Seale contingent assembled on Beacon St. next to the Common at about 6:20 p.m., forming a line behind an Avis Rent-a-Truck mounted with loudspeakers. Banners and flags of the different groups on the march floated above the crowd, which grew larger as the marchers waited for people leaving the rally on the Common to clear the street in front of them: "FREE THE PANTHER 21-Youth against War and Fascism"; "Free Bobby Seale"; "Free all Political Prisoners"; "BRING THE BOYS HOME-Gay Liberation Front."

The march began about 6:35 p.m., when the street was finally clear. By this time the crowd had swelled to about 2,000. As the marchers began to move forward, the driver of the sound truck conferred with a lawyer from the Massachusetts Lawyers' Guild who wore a red arm-band marked "legal," and then told the marchers, "Keep together. We can free Bobby Seale. We can free Erika Huggins. We can resist. Keep together."

John Froines, the Chicago conspiracy defendant who had announced the march in his speech at the Common rally, walked quietly along with the marchers, carrying a briefcase.

A few minutes later, marchers began throwing rocks at windows of cars and houses lining Beacon St. NAC members acting as marshals ran through the crowd urging the rock throwers to wait. The rocks stopped.

As the last of the marchers moved away from the Common, three buses filled with Boston police pulled out of the road behind the rally speaker's platform and began cruising behind the crowd. Police on motorcycles swept the street ahead of the sound truck, clearing a space in front of the march.

The crowd moved down Beacon St., chanting "Free Bobby Seale-Now." It was an angry chant, with little of the happy, excited sound that had marked the chanting the day before. Groups marched with arms linked, looking forward, intent on getting where they were going.