Anti-gun-vi­o­lence rally re­ceives per­mit ap­proval

The Washington Post - - METRO - BY JUSTIN WM. MOYER justin.moyer@wash­

Per­mit re­quests have been ap­proved for an anti-gun-vi­o­lence rally that could bring as many as 500,000 peo­ple to down­town Washington later this month.

The March For Our Lives rally, planned by sur­vivors of last month’s school shoot­ing in Park­land, Fla., will be held March 24 along Penn­syl­va­nia Av­enue be­gin­ning at noon, although or­ga­niz­ers ex­pect par­tic­i­pants will start to gather hours ear­lier. More than 700 “sib­ling marches” are also be­ing planned around the world that day, ac­cord­ing to the event’s web­site.

Na­tional Park Ser­vice spokesman Mike Lit­terst said an ap­pli­ca­tion was ap­proved that in­cludes us­age of side­walks along Penn­syl­va­nia Av­enue NW be­tween Third and 12th streets; side­walks along Con­sti­tu­tion Av­enue NW be­tween First and Ninth streets; green space be­tween Con­sti­tu­tion Av­enue, Penn­syl­va­nia Av­enue and Third Street NW; and John Mar­shall Park, the U.S. Navy Memo­rial and Free­dom Plaza.

D.C. po­lice said a sep­a­rate per­mit filed with the city also was ap­proved, although po­lice didn’t make the per­mit avail­able on Tues­day. Po­lice said in­for­ma­tion about street clo­sures would be re­leased in the com­ing days.

The two per­mits were re­quired be­cause the side­walks and parks along Penn­syl­va­nia Av­enue are un­der fed­eral ju­ris­dic­tion, Lit­terst said. The rally is planned for Penn­syl­va­nia Av­enue NW be­tween Third and 12th streets, which is un­der the city’s ju­ris­dic­tion.

Or­ga­niz­ers ini­tially had hoped to rally on the Mall, but a film crew was first to sub­mit its ap­pli­ca­tion for that space. The Mall event was de­scribed in a heav­ily redacted Park Ser­vice per­mit ap­pli­ca­tion as a “tal­ent show.”

Lit­terst said ear­lier this month that the per­mit was se­cured by a film crew “from a stu­dent group at a lo­cal ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tion,” but he wouldn’t iden­tify the in­sti­tu­tion be­cause “ap­pli­ca­tions from ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions are with­held from re­lease for pri­vacy rea­sons.” The de­ci­sion was crit­i­cized by civil lib­er­ties ad­vo­cates.

“Those redac­tions seemed un­rea­son­able and un­jus­ti­fied,” said Art Spitzer, le­gal di­rec­tor of the ACLU of the District of Columbia. “It may be sen­si­ble to pro­tect the iden­tity of ju­ve­niles — and the Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Act al­lows for that kind of pro­tec­tion of per­sonal pri­vacy — but there’s no good rea­son to redact the name of the school . . . or the name of the adult spon­sor.”

Lit­terst said the Park Ser­vice pro­vided the film crew’s con­tact in­for­ma­tion to March For Our Lives or­ga­niz­ers, as groups some­times al­ter plans to ac­com­mo­date larger events. The March For Our Lives per­mit ap­pli­ca­tion filed with the Park Ser­vice, for ex­am­ple, in­cluded 14 Jum­botrons, 2,000 chairs and 2,000 por­ta­ble re­strooms, while the film crew sought ap­proval for equip­ment that in­cluded two ta­bles, two bikes and jump ropes.

“I don’t know whether they ever reached out or not,” he said.

March For Our Lives or­ga­niz­ers didn’t re­turn re­quests for com­ment.

Or­ga­niz­ers had hoped to rally on the Mall, but a film crew was first to sub­mit its ap­pli­ca­tion for that space.

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