Major Glitch in Plans for DC Protests on, Near Inauguration Day

Women's march set for Lincoln's Memorial must change locale
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 9, 2016 1:01 PM CST
Prime DC Spots Off Table for Inauguration Protests—for Now
No Women's March here.   (Getty Images)

Anyone planning to attend the Women's March in Washington on the day after the inauguration may need to look out for updates. The original location for the event—which has been widely publicized on Facebook (138,000 or so saying they'll be "going," another 227,000 are "interested")—was to take place at the Lincoln Memorial, but there's now a glitch, per the Guardian: The inaugural planning committee, working through the National Park Service, has a "massive omnibus blocking permit" for the memorial, the Washington Monument, and other "large swaths" of the national mall and Pennsylvania Avenue. This locks down these spaces for the Jan. 20 festivities, as well as for set periods before and after, meaning no protesters allowed. Attorney Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, who often goes to bat for DC protesters, objects to the move.

"This is public land," she said, per ABC News. "[The NPS has] done a massive land grab, to the detriment of all those who want to engage in free speech activities." NPS spokesman Mike Litterst blames logistics, with inaugural setup beginning on Nov. 1 and takedown not done till March 1. "They’re construction zones, effectively," he says. He also says the NPS received protest permit requests from 20 groups—about four times the number of previous inaugurations. The Washington Post notes that permits aren't issued to groups until the inaugural committee decides what spaces it's not using. A rep for the Women's March group says they've already "secured another location," yet unnamed. (Maybe stymied protesters could hang out with Elton John.)

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