WASHINGTON – The amount of bus permits requested for the Women’s March on Washington scheduled to take place on the day after President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration is significantly higher than the permits sought for the inauguration itself, according to D.C. officials.
The District Department of Transportation says 393 applications have been filed for buses to park at RFK Stadium on Jan. 20. Events DC, which is in charge of the permits for the Women’s March, says they have received 1,200 permit requests for the following day.
RFK Stadium has the capacity to hold 1,300 buses.
The number of bus permit requests for this year’s inauguration is a huge drop off from the first inauguration for President Barack Obama. D.C. Councilmember Charles Allen says there were 1,200 permit requests in 2009. In 2013, there were about 900 permit requests to park at RFK Stadium for the inauguration.
More than 200,000 people are expected to participate in a mass demonstration the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration, the Women’s March on Washington. Since the idea first emerged with a vision to take over the Lincoln Memorial in the days after the election results, plans have shifted, developed and expanded worldwide.
Where is the Women’s March on Washington?
Many locations on the National Mall in Washington are off-limits to protesters, including the Lincoln Memorial. This is in large part because inauguration equipment including bleachers won’t have been cleared from these areas yet. But march organizers say they have now secured a permit, and the event will start at 10am at the intersection of Independence Avenue and Third Street SW, near the US Capitol. Organizers say they haven’t publicized the route for security reasons.
Do I have to go to Washington?
No. Although the largest march is expected to take place in Washington, at least 30 cities nationwide are also holding their own women’s march rallies on 21 January. The best way to find information is to locate the state chapter for each group on the main event’s Facebook page. Protests will also be held around the world in cities including Sydney, Zurich and Mexico City.
Who is organizing the women’s march?
days after election, but after the Facebook event went viral, traditional political organizers and groups became involved. The four co-chairs are now Linda Sarsour (executive director of the Arab American Association of New York), Tamika D Mallory (political organizer and former executive director of the National Action Network), Carmen Perez (executive director of political action group The Gathering for Justice) and Bob Bland (a fashion designer who focuses on ethical manufacturing).
Planned Parenthood has just become an official partner of the march and will assist leaders in providing staff and large-scale event planning knowledge.
“It takes more than I ever imagined to organize a mass mobilization,” said Sarsour. “Negotiating with the six federal agencies on the route, insurance, fundraising, vendors, private security.”
What is the message of the march?
The Women’s March on Washington is quick to say it is not an anti-Trump protest. “We’re not targeting Trump specifically. It’s much more about being proactive about women’s rights,” said Cassady Fendlay, spokeswoman for the march.
The march is a very broad church, with Sarsour explaining it as a “stand on social justice and human rights issues ranging from race, ethnicity, gender, religion, immigration and healthcare”.
Planned Parenthood got involved specifically because it thinks the march will “send a strong message to the incoming administration that millions of people across this country are prepared to fight attacks on reproductive healthcare, abortion services and access to Planned Parenthood,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
Throughout his election campaign, Trump promised to defund the reproductive health organization because it performs abortions.
Planned Parenthood has helped shape the march’s policy agenda, and in return, it hopes that many of the protesters will mobilize in its defense when Trump and congressional Republicans make their attempt to strip the organization of millions in federal funding.
“It’s no secret Planned Parenthood is expecting the fight of our lives,” said Kelley Robinson, deputy national organizing director for Planned Parenthood. “This is a movement where people are inspired to take action at numbers we’ve never seen before. We want to make sure they have a great time at this march, but also plug into local efforts. We want to make sure people are taking action not just on 21 January, but stay engaged for months and years into the future.”
Is the march only for women?
No, people of all genders are welcome.
Who will be there?
Feminist leader Gloria Steinem and Harry Belafonte are both serving as honorary co-chairs of the march.
“Our constitution does not begin with ‘I, the President.’ It begins with, ‘We, the People.’ I am proud to be one of thousands who have come to Washington to make clear that we will keep working for a democracy in which we are linked as human beings, not ranked by race or gender or class or any other label,” said Steinem in a statement.
Celebrities including comedians Amy Schumer and Samantha Bee and actor Olivia Wilde have all posted on social media about their intentions to attend. Other well-known stars and march speakers are expected to be announced by the march organizers in the new year.
How can you get there?
Nearly all trains travelling from New York City and Philadelphia on Friday night or Saturday morning have been booked up. But that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck if you haven’t booked transportation yet. Greyhound has plenty of buses available from major cities including New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Charlotte and Nashville. Many grassroots groups have organized their own buses, such as the NYC chapter of the women’s march announcing a charter bus system for $62 return. The national march says it will be announcing transportation options on its website.
Is accommodation available?
Most of the charter buses from New York to Washington are leaving in the morning and returning in the evening of the Saturday in order to avoid the problem of accommodation.
But those wishing to stay overnight will find a tight market, given both the protesters and inauguration attendees in town. According to booking.com’s hotel listings, 80% of DC’s hotels are booked on the Friday night. On Airbnb, availability is low and prices are high, with apartments advertised for thousands of dollars per night, and a bunk bed in a shared room on that Friday night in DC going for $250 a night.
A closed Facebook group (which you can request to join) shows DC residents offering couches or spare beds in their apartments, and visitors offering to share their booked hotel with other protest attendees. Another site, MarchMatch, is a forum for people either offering accommodation and transport option or those in need of assistance.