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Women's March Rallies Held Around New England

BOSTON (CBS/AP) — Crowds gathered around New England for local versions of the third annual Women's March that took place around the country on Saturday.

Boston's version of the march took place on Boston Common. Newly elected Rep. Ayanna Pressley addressed the large crowd.

Those wanting to march for women in New Hampshire had their pick of locations.

The New Hampshire Woman's March was held outside the Statehouse in Concord, where organizers say the message is "We've Only Just Begun" in terms of advancing and protecting women's rights. According to the New Hampshire Women's Foundation, 34 percent of the seats in the New Hampshire House and 10 of the 24 seats in the Senate are held by women. That's the highest this decade, though fewer than who served in the record session of 2009-2010.

Occupy New Hampshire Seacoast and other groups also are hosted a women's march in Portsmouth.

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump's inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people. The exact size of the turnout remains subject to a politically charged debate, but it's generally regarded as the largest Washington protest since the Vietnam era.

The Boston Women's March is held on January 19, 2019. (WBZ-TV)

This year's march has been roiled by an intense ideological debate.

In November, Teresa Shook, one of the movement's founders, accused the four main leaders of the national march organization of anti-Semitism. The accusation was leveled at two primary leaders: Linda Sarsour, a Palestinian-American who has criticized Israeli policy, and Tamika Mallory, who has maintained an association with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

Shook, a retired lawyer from Hawaii, has been credited with sparking the movement by creating a Facebook event that went viral and snowballed into the massive protest on Jan. 21, 2017. In a Facebook post, she claimed Sarsour and Mallory, along with fellow organizers Bob Bland and Carmen Perez, had "steered the Movement away from its true course" and called for all four to step down.

Rep. Ayanna Pressley addresses the Boston Women's March. (WBZ-TV)

The four march organizers have denied the charge, but Sarsour has publicly expressed regret that they were not "faster and clearer in helping people understand our values."

Despite pleas for unity, an alternate women's march has sprung up in protest and planned a parallel rally in New York on Saturday a few blocks away from the official New York Women's March protest.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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