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Thousands expected to attend women’s march in Boston

A protest by high school students that was held on Boston Common last month. The Boston Women’s March on Saturday will begin at 11 a.m. on the Common.
A protest by high school students that was held on Boston Common last month. The Boston Women’s March on Saturday will begin at 11 a.m. on the Common.(Lane Turner/Globe Staff)

As throngs of protesters descend on Washington, D.C., Saturday for the Women’s March for America, thousands more will attend a sister march in Boston to speak out against a political climate that organizers blame for fueling hatred and acts of violence against minority groups.

The Boston Women’s March and the main event in Washington are among the hundreds of demonstrations being held nationally and worldwide the day after President-elect Donald J. Trump is sworn into office.

The Boston demonstration will begin at 11 a.m. on the Common, where several speakers will address the crowd, according to organizers. The march, along a 1-mile route, will begin at 12:30 p.m., according to the website.

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The plan for the marches took shape after the election of Trump, who infuriated critics on the campaign trail with controversial remarks about women, Mexican immigrants, Muslims, and others.

Trump is not named on the website of the national organizers, but the group says the “rhetoric of the past election cycle has insulted, demonized, and threatened many of us — immigrants of all statuses, Muslims and those of diverse religious faiths, people who identify as LGBTQIA, Native people, Black and Brown people, people with disabilities, survivors of sexual assault — and our communities are hurting and scared.”

The Trump transition team did not respond to an e-mail inquiry seeking comment on the marches.

Among the speakers scheduled to address the crowd in Boston are US Senator Elizabeth Warren, Mayor Martin J. Walsh, and Attorney General Maura Healey, their representatives confirmed on Thursday evening.

“I am proud to join people in Boston and across the country as we stand up and march for our values, liberties and freedoms from discrimination,” Walsh said in a statement. “Boston has been and will continue to be a city that is open and inclusive to all, it is part of who we are and what we stand for.”

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He said the march “embodies our fundamental belief of freedom and equality for all, and it puts a stake in the ground saying that we will not compromise our values. Together we will defend our friends, neighbors, and family members from any and all efforts to exclude them, harm them, or strip them of their rights.”

Warren said the march is a chance for people to unify and affirm their commitment to fighting bigotry.

“This gathering is a chance for us to come together to make clear that we believe in basic dignity, respect, and equal rights for every person in this country, and that we are committed to fighting back against bigotry in all its forms,” said Warren, a Democrat whose name has been floated as a possible presidential candidate in 2020, in a statement the Hub organizers posted to their website.

Healey, a fellow Democrat who launched an office hot line for reporting hate crimes shortly after the presidential election, was also quoted in the release.

“We need to act to build on and protect the progress we’ve made in our communities, throughout Massachusetts and across the nation,” Healey said. “I’m thrilled to stand with the people in this historic march for our shared values and priorities.”

Tanisha Sullivan, president of the Boston branch of the NAACP, said Thursday that she also hopes to attend.

“This March is needed regardless of who is in office,” Sullivan said in an e-mail. “Women’s rights are human rights, and we cannot waiver in the fight for the equality of women anymore than we can waiver in our fight for racial justice. Our fight is one of the longest battles this country has seen. On Saturday women and our allies will stand shoulder to shoulder across this country to demand that America delivers on her promise of freedom and justice for all.”

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Organizers, led by the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus, said earlier this month that at least 15,000 people had committed to attending at the Boston demonstration. That figured has spiked as high as 70,000, said Sydney Asbury, a spokeswoman for the organizers, in a phone interview Thursday night.

National organizers say more than 1.3 million demonstrators are expected to join marches in more than 600 locations including Boston, San Francisco, Chicago, Houston, Buenos Aires, Vienna, Toronto, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, Nairobi, and the Iraqi city of Erbil.

“I think Saturday is going to be a really powerful event with people from all walks of life,” Asbury said of the Boston march. In Massachusetts, demonstrations are also planned for Falmouth, Greenfield, Nantucket, Provincetown, Northampton, and Pittsfield.

Boston police Lieutenant Detective Michael McCarthy, a department spokesman, said in an e-mail that police “expect attendance to be high [in Boston] and encourage those attending to use public transportation and remind those who may be driving in the city to expect traffic delays in the area of the event.”

McCarthy said the department does not disclose staffing levels prior to a demonstration, but police have “been in contact with the event organizers and we will have adequate resources assigned to the event to ensure the safety of the participants as well as facilitate traffic in and around the area of the event.”

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No specific security concerns have been raised, McCarthy said, and police do not expect any issues with the demonstrators. He said no items are prohibited, but marchers are encouraged to travel lightly and leave bags at home.

Organizers advised attendees on their website to refrain from bringing a number of items, including aerosol cans, ammunition, animals other than guide dogs, bicycles, balloons, coolers, explosives, guns, glass or thermal containers, laser pointers, pepper spray, packages, tents, weapons of any kind, drones, backpacks, large bags, and signs on sticks or poles.

After the initial round of speeches, marchers will leave the Common and head toward Commonwealth Avenue, turn onto Clarendon Street, and then return to the Common for “community building” exercises that will last from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., the site says.

The weather should cooperate, with forecasters predicting temperatures in the high 40s Saturday, with partly cloudy skies and a 20 percent chance of rain.

“Great for #Marching,” the organizers tweeted on Thursday.

Trump, who frequently chides his adversaries on Twitter, made no mention of the planned marches on his account Thursday.

But a number of Massachusetts residents enthusiastically announced plans to attend Saturday’s march on social media, including Ashley Wood, a graphic designer from Salem.

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She posted a photo Thursday night on Facebook of a leather jacket emblazoned with the phrase “Love Trumps Hate” that she plans to wear to the demonstration, with a caption that said, “Jacket is almost done and I’m getting ready.”


Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.