Thousands of protesters traveled to their state and national capitals Saturday to participate in the March for Our Lives rallies to pressure legislators for stricter gun control laws in the U.S.
The rallies came in the wake of last month's mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where a former student killed 17 people with a semi-automatic weapon. Many of the survivors of the shooting in Parkland have become impassioned activists, leading the movement to demand an end to the epidemic of mass shootings in the U.S.
The main rally was held in Washington, D.C., but there were hundreds of sibling marches across the country and around the world, including rallies in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, South America, Europe, Africa, India, and Asia, according to the event’s website.
There hasn’t been an official tally of the number of people who attended the March for Our Lives demonstration in Washington. Mike Litterst, chief of communications for the National Park Service, told VICE News that the group no longer estimates the size of crowds for large events due to the difficulty in accurately assessing them.
“In the absence of (or in addition to) numbers provided by the event organizers, ridership figures for Metro are often used to quantify attendees at special events and demonstrations,” Litterst said. In D.C. on Saturday, there were 334,000 trips taken on the metro by 4 p.m., the Washington Post reported. That’s compared to 597,000 trips by the same time on the day of the Women’s March in January 2017.
Despite the lack of official estimates, multiple groups gave their assessments. Digital Design & Imaging Service Inc. used aerial photos to estimate that 202,796 people marched in D.C.; police had prepared for 500,000 people; and the organizers estimate that 800,000 people attended the rally. If the organizers are correct, the event would be the largest single-day protest ever. Currently that title is held by the inaugural Women's March, with 500,000 participants in D.C., according to The Washington Post.
Here are the numbers we do know:
- 334,000 — trips taken on the D.C. metro by 4 p.m. Saturday, the Washington Post reported. That’s compared to 597,000 trips by the same time on the day of the Women’s March in January 2017, according to the paper.
- 4,000 — voter registration forms collected from the marches across the U.S. March for Our Lives partnered with HeadCount to register voters during the marches, and the nonprofit had its biggest day of voter registration in the history of the organization, HeadCount founder Andy Bernstein told Mic. The number, which includes 757 from the New York City march and 1,500 from D.C., is expected to climb. The organization is still waiting to count forms from eight to 10 of the marches.
- 3.3 million — tweets sent with the #MarchForOurLives hashtag, according to Axios.
- 387 — U.S. congressional districts across the country that saw marches
- 856 — March for Our Lives sibling marches held outside of D.C. There were 752 sibling marches in the U.S. and 104 sibling marches outside the U.S., Axios reported.
- $2.5 million — money given by Everytown for Gun Safety in grants to more than 500 organizers planning marches across the country, the Chicago Tribune reported.
- 187,000 — students who have been exposed to gun violence at school since the 1999 Columbine massacre, The Washington Post found.
- 6 minutes, 20 seconds — length of the Parkland massacre, and survivor Emma Gonzalez’s moment of silence in her appearance at the D.C. march.
Cover image: Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, the scene of a mass shooting Feb. 14, were joined by over 800,000 people as they march in a nationwide protest demanding sensible gun control laws. (Photo by Michael Nigro/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)