BOSTON (AFP) - Police in Boston were gearing up for possible clashes on Saturday (Aug 31) between "Straight Pride Parade" demonstrators supportive of US President Donald Trump and counter-protesters who accuse them of being homophobic and extremist.
A group calling itself Super Happy Fun America has organised the controversial parade in response to the hugely popular gay pride parades that take place in US cities every year.
Critics say organisers are white supremacists whose intent is to bait members of the LGBT community in one of America's most liberal cities, and have arranged demonstrations to oppose it.
"There are no racists in our group. You have to come to one of our meetings: it's like the United Nations," president John Hugo told AFP, defending the parade.
The demonstrations come as tensions simmer between leftists and white nationalists in the United States.
Two weeks ago, a far-right rally and counter-demonstration by anti-fascist protesters in the city of Portland passed with no major incident amid a heavy police presence.
Super Happy Fun America's website says Saturday's march is to "spread awareness of issues impacting straights", describing heterosexuals as "an oppressed majority" in Massachusetts, the first US state to legalise same-sex marriage.
But the parade will have a clear political slant too, with participants due to walk alongside pro-Trump floats.
The group's website displays a doctored photo of Mr Trump holding a sign saying #GreatToBeStraight.
Prominent members of America's far-right movement, known as the "alt-right", are scheduled to speak, including former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos, who has been banned from several social media sites.
Mr Enrique Tarrio, a member of the all-male "Proud Boys" organisation, which has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, is also due to attend.
About 1,200 people are planning to join the parade, which starts at noon (12am Singapore time) in Copley Square and ends at Boston City Hall around 2.4km away, according to a Facebook group.
Police will cordon off the area and have said they will deploy uniformed and undercover officers along the route.
Several anti-Trump organisations and gay rights supporters have said they will try to block the parade. At least two counter-protests are planned, the first starting at 9am.
"We are certainly not going to start any violence but we will defend ourselves if we have to," said Mr Hugo, 56.
A "Straight Pride" held last Saturday in Modesto, California, attracted only a few dozen people and about 250 counter-protesters, according to local newspaper The Modesto Bee.