Women's March on Washington Still Needs Permit for Use of National Mall

Thousands of people are planning to participate in a demonstration in D.C. the day after Donald Trump becomes president -- but when and where they will be able to go on the National Mall is still up in the air.

The organizers of the Women's March on Washington submitted an application for use of the Mall on Nov. 16, National Park Service spokesman Mike Litterst said.

But at least eight other groups already had applied for use of the same space on the same day, Saturday, Jan. 21. 

Organizers of the march likely will not get approval for as many as 200,000 people to march from the Lincoln Memorial to the White House, as WTOP reported.

Permits are being issued on a first come, first served basis.

But the Park Service will work with the group to find an alternate location and time, as it does for all groups, Litterst said.

"We'll do everything we can to make sure they get a permit to exercise their First Amendment right," he said.

Janaye Ingram, executive director of the civil rights organization the National Action Network, is handling logistics for the march. She said organizers knew when they applied for the demonstration permit that other groups already had applied. 

"We knew that going in and we were fine with that," she said. 

More groups than ever want to send the incoming presidential administration a message in the days surrounding the inauguration. The Park Service has received at least 15 applications for free speech events; that's more than they have received for any inauguration, Litterst said. 

Groups that have applied for use of the National Mall on Jan. 20 or Jan. 21 told the Park Service they plan to demonstrate against Trump, for Trump, against abortion, for women's rights, against war and for national unity.

If every permit were approved, more than 337,000 people would be allowed onto the Mall to participate in demonstrations and other permitted events.

The Park Service receives more than 3,000 applications per year for use of land on the National Mall and elsewhere in the region. Applications are accepted up to a year in advance.

Demonstration organizers said on Facebook that their intent is to "join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore."

"We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health and our families -- recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country," a post by the organizers says.

After Trump's win, several people said on Facebook that they would demonstrate in D.C. the day after the inauguration. They organized online, and within hours, tens of thousands of people said they would participate.

"It's the most organic thing you've ever heard of," organizer Bob Bland told DCist. "We made the decision to collaborate and consolidate [on Nov. 10] -- right after we found out about each other."

As of Tuesday morning, more than 124,000 Facebook users said on the march's national page that they were going to the march. More than 217,000 Facebook users said they were interested. And others said on individual state pages that they would go.

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