Women's March Returns to DC 01/19 11:13
The Women's March was returning to Washington on Saturday, bracing for
inclement weather, coping with an ideological split and reconfiguring its route
due to the government shutdown.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Women's March was returning to Washington on
Saturday, bracing for inclement weather, coping with an ideological split and
reconfiguring its route due to the government shutdown.
The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump's
inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people. The exact size of the
turnout remains subject to a politically charged debate, but it's generally
regarded as the largest Washington protest since the Vietnam era.
Organizer this year submitted a permit application estimating that up to
500,000 people would participate, but the actual turnout was expected to be far
lower. Parallel marches were planned in dozens of U.S. cities.
The original plan called for participants to gather on the National Mall.
But with the forecast calling for snow and freezing rain and the National Park
Service no longer plowing the snow, organizers changed the march's location and
route to start at Freedom Plaza, a few blocks from the White House, and head
down Pennsylvania Avenue past the Trump International Hotel.
This year's march has been roiled by an intense ideological debate.
In November, Teresa Shook, one of the movement's founders, accused the four
main leaders of the national march organization of anti-Semitism. The
accusation was leveled at two primary leaders: Linda Sarsour, a
Palestinian-American who has criticized Israeli policy, and Tamika Mallory, who
has maintained an association with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
Shook, a retired lawyer from Hawaii, has been credited with sparking the
movement by creating a Facebook event that went viral and snowballed into the
massive protest on Jan. 21, 2017. In a Facebook post, she claimed Sarsour and
Mallory, along with fellow organizers Bob Bland and Carmen Perez, had "steered
the Movement away from its true course" and called for all four to step down.
The four march organizers have denied the charge, but Sarsour has publicly
expressed regret that they were not "faster and clearer in helping people
understand our values."
Despite pleas for unity, an alternate women's march has sprung up in protest
and planned a parallel rally in New York on Saturday a few blocks away from the
official New York Women's March protest.