This is the 17th installment in a monthly series reporting on political crowds in the United States. Each month, the Crowd Counting Consortium will post updates about trends and patterns from the previous month. For our counting methods, please see our first post in the series. You can find the rest of the posts here.
In June, more people showed up at U.S. protests, demonstrations and other political gatherings than in any month since we started counting in January 2017. We tallied 1,736 protests, demonstrations, strikes, marches, sit-ins, rallies and walkouts, with at least one in every state and the District of Columbia. Our conservative guess is that between 2,790,334 and 4,622,113 people showed up at these political gatherings, though it is likely there were more participants. This count is close to, but probably slightly higher than, that of March 2018.
Because mainstream media often do not report on nonviolent actions — especially small ones — we probably did not record every event that took place. Nevertheless, we think our tally gives us a useful pool of information to better understand political mobilization in the United States — particularly, how reports of crowds change from month to month.
June’s crowds were huge because of LGBTQ+ Pride events all across the country. While celebrating LGBTQ+ life, many of the events also included protests against such Trump administration policies as barring some transgender people from U.S. military service or separating immigrant families at the U.S. border.
The Pride crowd counts are why there’s such a wide range between this month’s low and high crowd estimates. On June 24, the largest events took place in New York City, with estimates ranging from 1,050,000 to 2,000,000, and San Francisco, with estimates ranging from 200,000 to nearly a million. In addition, hundreds of thousands attended in Chicago, as many as 300,000 in Seattle and 170,000 in Los Angeles. Smaller events took place in such cities as Albuquerque, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Denver, Helena, Houston, Memphis, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Spokane.
Five hundred people marched in the first Pride event ever held in Salt City, Kan., while the first-ever Pride event in Homer, Alaska, drew about 75. Dozens turned out in Newton, N.J., while about 60 marched in Soldotna, Alaska.
2. Families Belong Together and related protests
The Trump administration’s policy of separating children from their migrant or asylum-seeking parents at the U.S.-Mexico border led to the largest number of distinct protest events in June. We counted 1,081 such protests, including 738 events on the nationwide Families Belong Together mobilization day on June 30. On that day, from 433,943 to 505,852 people at 738 events turned out to protest the Trump administration’s separation of children from their parents. We were able to find crowd counts for about 73 percent of the locations.
The largest single June 30 protest, with upward of 75,000 attending, took place in Los Angeles, followed in size by Chicago, Washington, New York, San Francisco, Houston, Boston, Seattle and Austin. In addition, several thousand came out in Boise, more than 1,000 in Asheville, nearly 1,000 in Augusta, Maine, and almost 1,000 in Fayetteville, Ark.
There were others, as well. On June 1, for example, the American Civil Liberties Union brought together at least two dozen people in front of the federal courthouse in Albany as part of the National Day of Action for Children, specifically to object to this policy — while almost two weeks later, about a dozen protesters gathered at a different federal courthouse in Brownsville.
On June 30, we also tallied 10 counter-protests, involving a total of 67 to 83 people who favored the Trump child separation policy.
3. Other notable protests
As campaign season heated up, three pro-Trump rallies exceeded a thousand people each, including in Duluth, Minn., (more than 8,000 people), West Columbia, S.C. (more than 2,000), and Fargo, N.D. (6,000).
We continued to see protests against gun violence, as we have since the Stoneman Douglas school shootings in Florida. Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America held at least 137 events on the first few days of June. Those included about 50 protesters in Racine, Wis.; about 200 in Durango, Colo.; and about 50 in Greenville, N.C.
As we saw in May, the Poor People’s Campaign kept holding events objecting to poverty, racism and other issues. We counted at least 50 such events from Montgomery, Ala., to Sacramento. In the campaign’s final protest, thousands rallied in Washington, D.C., on June 23.
4. How many people were arrested and/or injured in political crowds?
We counted three reported injuries in June. At about 1,683 events, 96.9 percent of the total, no arrests were made. This was a slight uptick in arrest-free protests, compared with May, when those were 95.6 percent of the total. The number of people arrested increased again, however, from May’s already high numbers of 831 to 1,096 in June, with at least 1,074, or 98 percent, of those June arrests coming during 43 cases of nonviolent civil disobedience. As in May, many of those arrested did so as a form of civil disobedience during the Poor People’s Campaign.
But the largest number of arrests at a single event that we’ve seen since we started recording was on June 28 in Washington, when Capitol Police arrested 575 people (mostly women) who were protesting the child separation policy and calling for ICE to be abolished.
You can download the data here. We’ll release the data for July soon. In the meantime, we are still counting. Click here to submit information about a protest, and click here to volunteer to help us count.
Jeremy Pressman is an associate professor of political science and director of Middle East Studies at the University of Connecticut. Find him on Twitter @djpressman.