A women’s march at Lincoln Memorial has been blocked after the protest was scheduled to take place the day after President-elect Donald Trump takes office in January.
The women’s march on the National Mall has been denied after the National Park Service announced that the memorial, along with other historic sites in the nation’s capital, will be denying access to rallies, the International Business Times reported.
In the past, the Lincoln Memorial has been the stage for major civil rights and anti-Vietnam protests and 1995's Million Man March.
The decision to make it unavailable was made on behalf of the Presidential Inauguration Committee on Thursday, according to the Guardian.
The service filed for a “massive omnibus blocking permit” that will keep protesters off of the Mall.
“It hasn't come up in any way previously, where you’ve had a groundswell of people trying to have access on the Saturday, January 21, and thousands of people want to come, and the government is saying we won’t give you a permit,” Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, a constitutional rights litigator and the executive director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, said at a press conference, according to IBT. “What they’ve done is take all of these spaces out of action.”
Verheyden-Hilliard has led court battles involving protest access for inauguration day in the past, the Guardian noted.
NPS spokesman Mike Litterst said it could take months to clear major public places of everything that will be set up for the inauguration.
“They’re construction zones, effectively,” said Litterst, according to the Guardian.
The Answer Coalition had requested a permit to host a rally on Pennsylvania Avenue the day after the inauguration.
“We’ve issued the demand to the parks service because this is an illegal abridgment of first amendment rights. …We expect they’ll conform to the constitution and make permits available,” said Verheyden-Hilliard.
Information about the women’s march started going viral on Facebook after Trump’s presidential victory, the Guardian noted.
Activists encouraged women and allies to come to the Lincoln Memorial on Jan. 21 to march. More than 130,000 people have registered on the event’s Facebook page, and another 225,000 people fall into the “interested” category.
“The Lincoln Memorial is not possible,” said Cassady Fendlay, a spokeswoman for the march, according to the Guardian.
“We are in conversation with the police,” she added. “We have secured another location.”
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