With National Mall unavailable, March For Our Lives moves to Pennsylvania Avenue
“March For Our Lives” is a little more than three weeks away and the new plan is to hold the demonstration to end gun violence on Pennsylvania Avenue in North West Washington.
Organizers amended paperwork with the National Park Service to include the area from 12th Street to 3rd near the Capitol building. The original plan was to use the National Mall but another group previously submitted a permit application for that area.
“We process almost 400,000 permit applications a year. No two are ever alike,” National Park Service spokesperson Mike Litterst said.
Litterst said the size of “March For Our Lives” could compare to last year’s Women’s March after the inauguration. “March For Our Lives” organizers estimate a crowd of half a million people on Saturday, March 24.
“Any time you’re getting a group that large together, we want to be absolutely sure that the necessities for life safety are taken care of,” Litterst said.
Over the next few weeks, organizers and the Park Service will have to determine the number of portable restrooms and medical tents needed. For large events, there must be one portable restroom for every 300 people, meaning there will need to be more than 1,600 to accommodate 500,000 people during the demonstration.
The group doesn’t have the green light just yet from the Park Service or DC Police, as both permits are pending.
“We’ll probably go in to the last week before the event before the permit is finalized but there shouldn’t be any take away or any reading into that that there’s an issue, it’s just that when you’re planning an event that size, you’ve got a lot of homework to do before we issue that final permit,” Litterst said.
The National Park Service has jurisdiction over the sidewalks along Pennsylvania Avenue and the parks along the street. The DC Police Department oversees the roadway of Pennsylvania Avenue.
According to a website created for the event, the march is "inspired by, and led by students across the country who will no longer risk their lives waiting for someone else to take action to stop the epidemic of mass school shootings that has become all too familiar."
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students called for the march in the days following the shooting.