Memphis Women’s March prepares for safe event after violent D.C. inauguration protests

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Organizers of the Memphis Women's March expected thousands of people to take part in the event happening at the same time as a connected national march in Washington.

Alice Shands is one of the women taking part in the Memphis Women’s March, as a member of a group called Together We Will.

But more importantly, she's going as grandma and plans to march with her family.

“I’m hoping my granddaughter will go, ‘You know I marched one time with my grandmother at a march in Memphis. She said it was so women had rights, or everyone had rights, and I got to be a part of it. That’s what I hope she’ll remember,'” Shands said.

Shands will join thousands starting at the D’Army Bailey Courthouse at the intersection of 2nd Street and Adams Avenue.

The march route continues south about one mile on 2nd Street and ends at the National Civil Rights Museum.

“We were hoping to get maybe 100 people," organizer Erica Tamariz said. Now we have about 2,300 people saying they’re going on Facebook alone."

But that also meant they considered security and the potential for violent protests, like those that erupted in Washington, D.C. during the inauguration.

Organizers said Memphis Police would guard the route.

“We did have to be in contact with the special events department of MPD and they're providing officers for traffic control and safety,” Tamariz said.

Memphis Police released a statement to WREG asking the public to use common sense: “The Memphis Police Department will be in position for the event. Common sense should be used in deciding what to bring to the march. The event planners state on their page that this march is intended to be a courteous and respectful event.”

Organizers and participants said they hoped outside agitators would not ruin the spirit of the event.

“Things got violent today in D.C. with the inauguration. We want to show the opposite of that. We expect these next four years to be trying for a lot of people but we want to come together,” Tamariz said.

"The intent of this march is to be positive, not to insight violence or disturbance. It’s to present a group of people who want to continue progressive policies. We are not trying to stir up trouble. So I'm hoping people along the parade or in the community will honor that and see that," Shands said.

The march starts at 10 a.m. with one speaker. Organizers expected it to end around noon.

They asked people not to bring any sign tools that could be used as a weapon.