DC Climate March
April 29th 2017
Over one hundred thousand people marched down Pennsylvania Ave. from the Capitol on April 29, the one-hundredth day of Trump’s presidency. As though to emphasize the cost of global warming, Mother Nature graced the day with temperatures over 90 degrees.
During the morning people gathered on the Mall in front of the Capital, where they laid out their signs, bought t-shirts, stood in line at the food trucks, and took advantage of the free bagels and hot coffee (!) available in some tents. A press conference was held at 10:30.
When the march started at 12:30 several dozen pink-shirted marshalls linked arms to form a large U in front of the front line. The purpose was to keep press and all those trying to take photos from obscuring the front line so that everyone could take a shot without bodies and cameras in the way.
The marshalls ducked so that photographers could shoot over them. However, several orange shirted staffers were inside the U and they did a pretty good job of making it hard to get a clean shot of the front line.
Several members of the press complained that the open space was so large they couldn’t get close enough to take shots of the indigenous people in native dress who were leading the march. After a few blocks those with a press pass were permitted to go inside. What followed was the usual competition between photographers to get their shots without concern for anyone else’s.
While there were professionally printed signs passed out by various groups, most of those carried showed a large amount of creativity. There were lots of parachutes, a few balloons, large puppets and small hand-pushed floats. Some signs were recycled from the Science March on April 22; a lot had an anti-Trump theme.
As the marchers approached Freedom Plaza, a large sign at 13th St. informed them that there would be a collective action at 2:00 p.m. When that hour came, half hadn’t even made it to the Plaza to read the sign so not everyone knew what to do. Those that did know sat down where they were and patted their heart, in order to show that their hearts beat as one.
At 15th St. the march split into two lines. One went north to turn back onto Pennsylvania Ave. and proceed in front of the White House. The police had placed steel barricades down the middle of the 1500 and 1600 blocks very early in the morning to keep the marchers on the north side of the street, about 50 feet from the White House fence.
This squeezed the march line so it took longer to pass. At 17th St. they turned south and walked to the grounds of the Washington Monument. The other line turned south at 15th St. and west on Constitution Ave. The two lines met where they entered the monument grounds. Awaiting them further down 17th St. was a long line of portapotties and large water barrels. After marching for an hour in that heat, most people went after the water.
A large stage was erected on the Monument grounds for entertainment and speakers. While some listened, most people drifted out or lay on the grass where they could find some shade in order to recuperate.