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Boston will deploy about 500 police officers on Saturday to prevent possible violence at a "free speech" rally and planned counterprotests, the mayor and police commissioner said Friday.

"As we have seen with the events in Charlottesville and around the country, white nationalists are emboldened by the current political administration and growing police state", wrote the organizers of the "Fight Supremacy" march.

Counterprotesters from Black Lives Matter and other groups denouncing racism and anti-Semitism marching from there to the Common, and another group plans to rally on the steps of the Statehouse overlooking the sprawling park.

Around 10 participants of the Free Speech rally were waiting to gain entry through police barricades to their protest site on Boston Common.

More than half of USA states allow people to attend rallies with firearms, and some allow keeping those guns concealed, said Darrel Stephens, executive director of the Major Cities Chiefs Association, an organization of police department heads. "Make no mistake: we do not welcome any hate groups to Boston and we reject their message", he said, adding: "Love, not hate". "But, believe me, we are not going to let anything happen".

"Fitchburg State University has always been, and will continue to be, a community that values diversity and inclusiveness and understands the richness they bring", Lapidus said.

Citing the bigotry and violence associated with similar groups, Mayor Marty Walsh has spoken out against the rally.

"We can not continue to ignore racism, ignore white supremacism, ignore neo-Nazis and pretend it's not a problem", she said.

Last weekend's clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia, where one woman was killed in a vehicle rampage after bloody street battles, ratcheted up racial tensions already inflamed by white supremacist groups marching more openly in rallies across the United States.

A counter-protest is also planned, with some 11,000 people saying on Facebook they plan to attend.

A number of speakers are expected to talk at the rally, and a top Boston police officer said that "if anyone gets out of control, it will all be shut down".

Its organizers say, however, that this rally will be different that the Unite the Right event. Thousands of counter-protesters are also expected to show up, including some from western Massachusets.

He said in a separate interview that he does not expect violence.

Interacting with the groups who may be touting white supremacist ideologies "gives them a platform", he warned.

Several activist organizations are planning a counter-protest and march to Boston Common in resistance of white supremacist ideologies.


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