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As COVID-19 vaccine mandate begins, Wu describes toll of protests at her home

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff

As the city’s new COVID-19 vaccine mandate took effect Saturday, Mayor Michelle Wu described how early-morning demonstrations outside her home in Roslindale against the new rules have impacted her neighbors and family.

Wu posted several tweets about the toll using her original Twitter handle, @wutrain. She established a second handle, @MayorWu, when she was sworn into office in November.

Her first tweet came in response to a Twitter user who wrote about music the demonstrators played outside Wu’s home Saturday morning.

“I’m so sorry you’re dealing with these daily sunrise protests after late-night hospital shifts,” she wrote at 7:53 a.m. “It takes someone special to appreciate heavy metal/grunge Saturday at 7am.”

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A short time later, another Twitter user wrote: “It’s gross that they’re protesting outside her house. Go away.”

Wu responded with another tweet, writing that she loves her job and welcomes accountability, but she lives in an urban neighborhood.

“My next door neighbor is a 96 year-old veteran who deserves his sleep & we have so many families on our street with young kids who are getting woken up by the hate every morning,” she wrote.

A Twitter user with the handle @dannymas68 asked Wu not to refer to the demonstrators’ conduct as “hate.”

“I agree they should not be disturbing you or others at their private residences,” the Twitter user wrote to Wu. “But if they are protesting the policy without involving race or gender, please don’t call it hate. We can disagree politically without hate being involved.”

Wu responded by describing a question posed to her Friday by one of her sons and the family was celebrating the mayor’s birthday.

“Yesterday at dinner my son asked who else’s bday it was bc the AM chant was “Happy birthday, Hitler,” wrote Wu, who has two sons, ages 7 and 4.

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“To have a chance at healing & building community, we can’t keep normalizing hate,” she wrote. “They’ve shouted on megaphones that my kids will grow up without a mom bc I’ll be in prison.”

Among the demonstrators who have gathered outside Wu’s residence is Shana Cottone, a Boston police sergeant who leads Boston First Responders United, a group that organized in opposition to the vaccination mandate; she’s currently on leave for an internal affairs probe that she claims is retaliatory.

Boston First Responders United has scheduled a demonstration for late Saturday morning in the Fenway neighborhood.

On Saturday afternoon, Wu and several city officials are scheduled to gather at Whittier Street Health Center to discuss the first day of the new COVID-19 mandate.

She provided an overview of the new rules in a video posted Saturday morning to her @MayorWu Twitter account.

On Dec. 20, Wu ordered the mandatory vaccination of all city employees and set Saturday as the date for workers to have received at least one of shot of a vaccine. Failure to comply could lead to firing, the administration has said.

Three public safety unions challenged the mandate in court, but on Wednesday a Suffolk Superior Court judge rejected their request to block the new rules from being implemented.

Under the mandate, Saturday also marks that first day that people seeking to enter certain indoor spaces in Boston, including restaurants, bars, gyms, and entertainment venues, must show proof that they’ve had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

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Laura Crimaldi can be reached at laura.crimaldi@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @lauracrimaldi.