Re-Open Now, Protesters Tell Governor Charlie Baker — Where He Lives

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Just a few hundred feet away from Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker’s home in Swampscott on Saturday, more than 100 people gathered to send a message:  they want the state to reopen its economy and to do it quickly.

Super Happy Fun America organized the demonstration ,which featured as speakers its president John Hugo, Camp Constitution director Hal Shurtleff, attorney Rinaldo Del Gallo, among others, to voice their displeasure with Baker’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s time to put Massachusetts back to work,” Hugo told the audience. “The politicians are lying. They’re exaggerating, and we’re sick and tired of it. Big box stores, Walmart, Target, they get to open up because they’re politically connected. The mom and pop stores that people worked their entire lives to build are going out of business. It’s not right and it’s hypocritical.”

The event featured a left-wing speaker in Rinaldo Del Gallo, who described himself as a civil rights lawyer, Bernie Sanders supporter, and leftist.

Although he has differences politically with much of the crowd — supporting rent freezes and universal basic income — Del Gallo said he supported what they were doing.

“It is a constitutional right to earn a living and rule your vocation,” Del Gallo said. “You have a right to not starve in your houses while big corporations are bailed out. You need to be able to earn a living.”

A Democrat, Del Gallo ran in the Massachusetts Senate primary for the Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin & Hampden District in western Massachusetts in 2016, but did not win.

Shurtleff told the audience that they should not be afraid to admit that China is at fault for spreading the virus.

He also slammed the World Health Organization and said that it’s hard to trust the government’s judgement on the virus considering that public officials flipped their position on masks — going from telling people not to wear them to fining them for not wearing them.

“In January, they said it wasn’t contagious,” Shurtleff told the crowd. “They were talking their cues from communist China. The man who runs the organization Tedros, he’s a Marxist. He was part of a terrorist organization in Ethiopia. He’s calling the shots in the United States.”

Shurtleff was referring to Tedros Adhanom Ghebreysus, who is a member of the left-wing Tigray People’s Liberation Front.

The event drew a few counter-protestors from Refuse Fascism, an organization that supports removing President Donald Trump from office. The counter-protesters stood near police officers — away from the event supporters.

Attendees explained to New Boston Post why they felt the demonstration was important to attend.

One of them was Paul Caruccio, a Republican who twice ran against Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop) in 2012 and 2014.

“People don’t realize the effects of this shutdown won’t go away in days, weeks, and months, but years and generations,” he said. “A lot of people leaving school and trying to start their lives. There’s families going through financial hard times and businesses struggling. It’s a mistake. It never should’ve happened. Every day longer that this takes is gonna hurt people more and more.”

Another was Katelyn Johnson. She told New Boston Post she did not want to sit back at a time where the economy is in rough shape.

“To be here is so important because if we stay home, nothing happens,” she said. “Depression sets in. We have to do something and if this is what we can do, I’m all for it.”

And a man named Gabriel told New Boston Post:  “We’re standing up for American freedom, American patriotism, and American nationalism. We need stronger governors throughout the country to stand up against this.”

At the conclusion of the event, Super Happy Fun America announced the group plans another protest outside of the Massachusetts State House at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 30; the group previously held one on Monday, May 4.


A protest near Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker’s home in Swampscott, Massachusetts drew a couple of hundred people on Saturday, May 16, 2020. It also drew some counter-protesters supporting Baker or opposing President Donald Trump. Photos by Tom Joyce for New Boston Post.