Organizers of the most high-profile demonstration planned around the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump said that they have determined a meeting place to begin a march that is expected to attract hundreds of thousands of participants.
The Women’s March on Washington, which is scheduled for the day after the Jan. 20 inauguration, plans to start its rally at Independence Avenue and Third Street SW, in front of the Capitol. From there, demonstrators will march west along Independence, although organizers said that they have yet to determine an official route.
“Ultimately we want to have the attention focused on Congress and lifting up our concerns to them,” said Janaye Ingram, the head of logistics for the Women’s March on Washington, adding that organizers are also committed to sending their message of women’s equality to all levels and branches of government. She said that she thinks the group has identified a “valid, workable route.”
Ingram said the group has been working over the past few weeks with D.C. police, Capitol Police and other agencies to secure this location. A D.C. police spokeswoman, Rachel Reid, said the agency met Friday with the march organizers and that they have applied for a permit through the city. The department is now working with them on the application, but nothing has been finalized, according to Reid.
The Women’s March and other groups seeking to protest in the District around the time of the inauguration have largely been unable to firm up their plans because it is not yet clear which federal properties will be open to demonstrations. That space includes the Mall, around monuments and other federal parks and land in the nation’s capital.
About 20 groups have applied for “First Amendment Permits” on National Park Service land around inauguration, though none have been granted yet.
The National Park Service, which handles such First Amendment Permits, said it does not grant any requests until the Presidential Inauguration Committee, which plans the parade and other events to usher in a new president, maps out where it wants to hold inauguration-related activities.
Federal regulations essentially give priority to the inauguration committee, setting aside prime land, including the entire Mall between First and 14th streets NW and the Ellipse by the White House, for its use. Land around the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument also is included.
The Park Service, as a matter of standard practice, applies on behalf of the committee for the sweeping permits a year in advance, according to Mike Litterst, a Park Service spokesman. The committee then typically relinquishes some of them, allowing for demonstrators to secure their permits.
This uncertainty has left would-be demonstrators unsure whether they should book travel arrangements to participate in the march if there is a chance it doesn’t happen. Ingram said she hopes that having a firm starting location quells any concerns.
“We have a great deal of energy around this effort,” she said. “For those people who may have been worried, now they will feel they have what they need and can make any proper arrangements.”
The Women’s March on Washington still has a pending application for a permit for various Park Service locations. Ingram said the group has not rescinded its application but is no longer interested in rallying in front of the Lincoln Memorial.