Mayor Marty Walsh urged people to stay away from the “Free Speech Rally” Saturday, as Boston police and local officials prepare for an expected crowd of hundreds of protesters and thousands of counter-protesters in the Boston Common.

“Ideally, we’d like people not to come to town,” Walsh said in an interview with Boston Public Radio Friday. “I think giving this ‘freedom’ group attention at all kind of magnifies their cause. Their cause is hate, their cause is bigotry, their cause is racism, their cause is anti-Semitism … why do we want to promote that by countering that?”

Saturday’s “Free Speech Rally” will take place from 12 p.m.-2 p.m. at the Parkman Bandstand on the Common, with a few hundred “free speech” advocates expected to attend. Two counter-protests, “Stand For Solidarity” at the State House and “Fight Supremacy,” also at the Common, expect a collective 15,000 attendees, according to their respective Facebook events.

“Everyone’s gearing up for a war, and Boston is better than that,” Walsh said. “We’re not used to having wars here, we’re not going to have a war tomorrow. People are going to come in, they’re going to be able to express themselves, and we don’t need people exciting the crowd.”

“That’s what I get worried about,” Walsh continued, “because other groups, other people come in that have no desire to be there in a peaceful manner, they’re looking to start trouble — we don’t need that in Boston.”

The rally comes one week after a “Unite the Right” white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, which left counter-protester Heather Heyer dead and 19 others injured.

At a news conference Friday morning, Walsh said over 500 police officers, including undercover officers and officers with body cameras, will patrol the area, check bags and backpacks, and close off roads to traffic.

“They’ve been monitoring [this] for a week now, [and] any groups that will come in, they’ll be able to keep an eye on it and see what’s going on,” Walsh said. “[Police will] keep groups away from each other, and if we see a group within a group that looks like it’s going to be causing some issues, we’re going to go in and deal with that.”

Other groups, other people come in that have no desire to be there in a peaceful manner, they're looking to start trouble — we don't need that in Boston.

Walsh encouraged tourists and locals alike to go about their lives normally Saturday, despite a general feeling of wariness and planned closures of several local businesses.

“I’m encouraging people to come into town tomorrow and shop and do what they do,” Walsh said. “I’m hoping, with all of this hype that’s going on, I’m hoping tomorrow is a very dead day.”

For those coming into town for protests or counter-protests, Walsh had a message: “If you’re coming into town tomorrow, please respect the city,” Walsh said. “Children watch the actions of adults, so whatever happens tomorrow, children in our city and in our state will be watching your actions, so make sure they’re positive.”

To hear Mayor Walsh’s full interview with Boston Public Radio, click on the audio player above.