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March for Our Lives

Rally in Washington D.C. on March 24

Millions of people marched at over 800 US cities in response to the mass shootings that have catalyzed support for gun regulation. The main march in DC was changed to a rally as the expected numbers grew. Instead of marching up Pennsylvania Ave., people packed all the spaces from 3rd to 12th Streets, as well as some surrounding streets.

A very large stage was erected on 3rd St. near the Capitol. Jumbotrons and large speakers lined Pennsylvania Ave. for several blocks. Organizers appeared to have learned from the deficiencies of the massive women’s march in 2017 where only some of the crowd could hear, let alone see, any of the speakers.

The DC National Guard blocked the streets leading to the rally and cops directed trafic.

My application for press credentials was denied. Since I couldn’t get on the camera risers to shoot the speakers on the stage, I stayed at Freedom Plaza, 13 blocks away. It was a good spot to shoot signs, as people flowed onto the Plaza on their way to the rally.

Many more just stood around the Plaza, looking down Pennsylvania Ave., posing for photos and talking to each other.

Those that plunged into Pennsylvania Ave. stood on anything they could find, straining to see.

Most of the signs were homemade.

Some were professionally printed.

While opposition to Trump was a theme, it wasn’t as prevalent as in the anniversary women’s march in January.

DNC staff and LWV volunteers were urging people to register to vote.

The National Rifle Association was a popular target.

Lots of signs espoused gun control, but opposition to the 2nd Amendment was rare.

Many private merchants did a booming business on the side streets.

For blocks around the rally area, restaurants were full of people who wanted to sit someplace out of the cold. New York Avenue Presbyterian Church held its usual open house where demonstrators could do just that.

Lots of organizations held support events, before, during and after the rally. Seniors from a nearby retirement home greeted those going to the rally.

Gays Against Guns brought a bus from NYC. They held a mini-rally near Freedom Plaza with signs, speakers, and street theater. This included a runway where a gay man impersonated Rep. Barbara Comstock (R Va), who is high on the list of Representatives GAG wants to defeat.

Before the rally, the Woman’s National Democratic Club held a breakfast speak-out and provided materials for participants to make their own signs.

After the official rally, many marched to the White House.

There they held their own protests.

Gays Against Guns serenaded the White House from the street.

Others did so from Lafayette Park.

Barriers and cops kept anyone from getting too close to the White House fence.

Many signs were left behind.

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Jo Freeman

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