Society

Women’s March On DC Banned From Lincoln Memorial

| by Sarah Zimmerman

The Presidential Inauguration Committee and the National Park Service (NPS) will be blocking off many famous political landmarks in Washington, D.C., so they cannot be used by women hoping to protest President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration. 

The Women's March on Washington is a mass protest planned for Jan. 21, the day after the presidential inauguration. More than 138,000 people plan to attend the event to send "a bold message to our new administration on their first day in office, and to the world that women's rights are human rights," according to a Facebook statement by the organizers.

Its organizers wrote of the march's purpose:

The rhetoric of the past election cycle has insulted, demonized, and threatened many of us--immigrants of all statuses, Muslims and those of diverse religious faiths, people who identify as LGBTQIA, Native people, Black and Brown people, people with disabilities, survivors of sexual assault—and our communities are hurting and scared. We are confronted with the question of how to move forward in the face of national and international concern and fear.

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In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore. The Women’s March on Washington will send a bold message to our new administration on their first day in office, and to the world that women's rights are human rights. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.

We support the advocacy and resistance movements that reflect our multiple and intersecting identities. We call on all defenders of human rights to join us. This march is the first step towards unifying our communities, grounded in new relationships, to create change from the grassroots level up. We will not rest until women have parity and equity at all levels of leadership in society. We work peacefully while recognizing there is no true peace without justice and equity for all.

The event was planned to take place at the Lincoln Memorial, the site of historic anti-Vietnam and civil rights protests, according to The Guardian. However, the Trump administration, in conjunction with the NPS, has filed to secure the memorial, along with the national mall, Pennsylvania Avenue, and the Washington Monument for inauguration festivities, meaning that none of these spaces will be available to the protestors.

The Women's March has yet to receive a permit to demonstrate -- the Presidential Inaugural Committee is first to receive a permit, as is custom. The Committee plans parades and festivities to usher in the new president and can decide where they want to hold gatherings before any protestors, according to The Washington Post. 

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However, as The Guardian reports, the Trump administration has filed "mass omnibus permits" all over D.C., leaving protesters with very little options of where to gather. The permits extend for weeks before and after the inauguration itself so protestors are left scrambling to find ways to demonstrate.

Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, a constitutional rights litigator, says it's "extremely unique" to ban protestors from using public land in the days following the inauguration. 

“It hasn’t come up in any way previously, where you’ve had a groundswell of people trying to have access on ... January 21, and thousands of people want to come, and the government is saying we won’t give you a permit,” she said in a press conference. “What [Trump has] done is take all of these spaces out of action.”

Cassady Fendlay, spokeswoman for the march, says that the protest will still happen even if it's not at the Lincoln Memorial. 

"We are in conversation with the police. We have secured another location," she told The Guardian. Although she did not disclose the march's location, she confirmed it would be near the memorial.

Sources: The Guardian, The Washington Post, Women's March, Women's March on Washington/Facebook / Photo credit: Dan G/Flickr

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