BOSTON (CBS/AP) – An estimated 50,000 people converged on Boston Common Saturday as a part of the “March for Our Lives” movement that is taking place around the globe in a fight for tighter gun laws.
Photos: March For Our Lives BostonREAD MORE: Teen Lifeguards Save Man Who Suffered Heart Attack On Dennis Beach
The students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School spearheaded what could become one of the largest marches in history with nearly 1 million people expected in Washington and more than 800 sister marches from California to Japan.
In the wake of a Valentine’s Day shooting that killed 17, the teens pulled all-nighters, scheduling speakers, petitioning city councils, renting stages and walking march routes with police in a grass-roots movement that has raised more than $4 million.
In Boston, a march left from Madison Park High School just before 11 a.m. They arrived on Boston Common around 1:30 p.m. for a speaking program.
“This is our future. This is our future generation doing something. If adults aren’t going to act like adults, students will,” one Somerville High School student told WBZ-TV along the march.
There were no arrests or citations during Saturday’s event, Boston Police said.
A small group of about 100 counter protesters were on Boston Common as well.
March for our Lives leaders said they are seeking to mobilize a generation “to raise our voices and take action on gun violence in America.” Participants were urged to “be good guests in the communities we are visitors in. Be respectful during the event and remain non violent.”
An online fundraising page for March for Our Lives Boston has received nearly $50,000 in donations.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren spoke before the march. Warren said the march “is what democracy looks like.”
“These are young people who say ‘My government no longer represents me so I’m going to go out there and represent myself. I’m going to raise my voice and I’m going to make my government listen to me,’” said Warren.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker called it a “great day for young people.”READ MORE: Police: Allegedly Drugged Driver Fled Scene After Hitting And Killing Taunton Woman
Michael Martinez, a student organizer for the Boston march, said students feel empowered.
Martinez said students are looking forward to using their platform to help make changes in the country.
“This is a perfect time for people to use this platform to continue speaking up about this issue and continue advocating for gun safety,” Martinez said. “I think young people know they are empowered and they have power. They are taking this time to start activating around this issue.”
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said he gives participants “a lot of credit.”
“Most great movements started with young people, and this is one of the movements that could really change the country and save a lot of lives,” Walsh said.
Rallies also took place in other Massachusetts communities, including Ipswich, Pittsfield, Plymouth, Springfield and Worcester. Some, such as Boston’s rally, included voter registration.
“We’re not just gonna stand back and be quiet,” said Eden Alemayehu, 17, a student at Lexington High School. She said better background checks are one way that politicians can limit gun ownership. “You shouldn’t be able to walk into a store and legally purchase a gun at age 18.”
Shellby Falco, 17, said there was a threat of violence last year at her school, Medford High School, although nothing resulted. “It was very anxiety-raising,” she said, recalling how students and staff had to shelter in place.
“I want politicians to step up,” and work to reduce gun violence, she said.
March for Our Lives is the latest high-profile rally in Boston.Large Outdoor Events Like Concerts Remain Safe Despite COVID Concerns, Experts Say
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)