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Organizers Of March For Our Lives Working To Find New Location For Rally


Gun control advocates hoped to stage a massive demonstration on Washington's National Mall later this month. But the Mall was already booked, and the student organizers of the event were forced to find a different location in the nation's capital. Mikaela Lefrak of member station WAMU reports.

MIKAELA LEFRAK, BYLINE: The March For Our Lives student organizers applied for a permit on the National Mall only to be told no. A student group filming for a talent show had already applied for a permit in the same place. The Mall is managed by the National Park Service, and spokesman Mike Litterst says they award permits on a strictly first-come, first-served basis.

MIKE LITTERST: Because the March For Our Lives came in second, we worked with them to find another location.

LEFRAK: That new location is nearby on a stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue under local D.C. jurisdiction. Jeffrey Carroll is an assistant chief with D.C. police. He says they're already having regular meetings with the march organizers to get ready for busloads of demonstrators to come into the city.

JEFFERY CARROLL: Our goal is to allow them to have a successful First Amendment demonstration to keep everyone safe who'll be there to exercise their First Amendment right.

LEFRAK: The Washington, D.C., event is the headliner in a series of rallies planned for March 24. According to the original permit application, organizers expect 500,000 people to attend. The Park Service's Mike Litterst says even if the crowds spill over onto the National Mall or march to the White House, the city will be ready.

LITTERST: This is far from the first time that there has been an event this size, so we are certainly well versed with all the different entities that are involved. We work with them together regularly.

LEFRAK: Student survivors of the killings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida are organizing the event. For NPR News, I'm Mikaela Lefrak in Washington.

(SOUNDBITE OF DO MAKE SAY THINK'S "BOUND") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Mikaela Lefrak is WAMU’s Arts and Culture reporter. Before moving into that role, she worked as WAMU’s news producer for Morning Edition.