As the noontime start for the central “March For Our Lives” rally in Washington D.C. came and went, news crews and social media users on the scene revealed a vast crowd of people streaming down Pennsylvania Avenue for the long-planned event. According to the New York Times, a permit approved by the National Park Service estimated that nearly 500,000 people might attend Saturday’s main event, and judging by the steadily growing crowd of protesters young and old, it’s a sure bet that the final number won’t be that far off. Considering the zeal of the Parkland shooting survivors, however, this isn’t all that surprising.
Announced by the Parkland survivors and their supporters in late February, plans for Saturday’s “March For Our Lives” event in D.C. quickly expanded to include a whopping total of 844 marches throughout the United States and across the globe, according to the official website. A Google Maps insert with pins identifying each of these marches reveals the sheer expanse of Saturday’s collection of rallies. And judging by what ABC News and other outlets found, “sibling marches were already underway in cities abroad, including London, Munich, Tel Aviv, and Sydney.” Dozens of pictures and videos from each confirmed as much.
Even so, as CNN reported from the site of the Washington D.C. march, “the turnout [there] seemed to portend a massive standing-room-only rally” unlike the rest of the day’s accompanying events. What’s more, as the Washington Post noted in its coverage leading up to the main rally, the main thrust of the event was the Parkland survivors and other teenagers who had survived school shootings, or simply wanted to protest the fact that these tragedies were still happening with such frequency. For aside from several celebrity performances, all 20 speakers slated for the event are “under 18 years old.”
Judging by the numerous images and videos posted to social media by reporters, outlets, March For Our Lives participants, and observers, the massive crowds gathering in D.C. and elsewhere were predominantly younger, but by no means exclusively that. A lot of people showed up for Saturday’s marches, of all shapes, sizes, colors, and ages.
Long before the March For Our Lives main event even began, however, the White House pool report had already confirmed that President Trump would not be in town. Instead, he was at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, celebrating his 102nd day at a Trump-branded golf course since taking office.
Meanwhile, the White House issued a statement in response to Saturday’s marches “[applauding] the many courageous young Americans exercising their First Amendment rights today,” while noting that Trump “urged Congress to pass the Fix NICS and STOP School Violence Acts, and signed them into law.”