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Overbooked National Mall means changes for Women’s March on Washington

WASHINGTON — The Women’s March on Washington is hitting a roadblock. Planned for Jan. 21, 2017, other groups beat march organizers to the punch, requesting the same space on the National Mall on the same day.

Its organizers at the Gathering for Justice submitted the application Nov. 16 for the Women’s March On Washington. But it was a little too late.

“There were seven applications that were submitted prior to the Gathering for Justice for part or all of the same sites they’ve applied for,” said National Park Service spokesman Mike Litterst.

Accepted on a first come, first served basis, Litterst said organizers likely won’t get the approval to march as many as 200,000 people from the Lincoln Memorial to the White House, as is noted in the permit application.

“The permit has not been denied. We will make every effort to accommodate their request though it may be at a different time and location,” Litterst said.

The Women’s March on Washington, which gained support on Facebook, has changed names a few times, with the same mission to “send a bold message to our new administration on their first day in office, and to the world that women’s rights are human rights. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.”

What happens in cases when the space requested is unavailable, Litterst said, is organizers and the National Park Service negotiate where and when the event can take place.

On Tuesday, the organizers released a statement reiterating that the permitting applications have been submitted, and that plans may be altered.

The statement, part of which is below, references this WTOP story:

“While our early plans announced that we would be rallying at the Lincoln Memorial, those plans changed and our updated rally site is another location in the city that will accommodate our numbers. We will not be releasing the location information at this time because we are still in the permitting process and need to ensure that all of our logistics are in place. As the article says, National Park Service is working with us. And quoting the NPS spokesperson: “The permit has not been denied. We will make every effort to accommodate their request though it may be at a different time and location,” Litterst said. The start time has not changed and any changes to times will only impact our set up. We are continuing to work with National Park Service, Metropolitan Police Department, Homeland Security, Capitol Police, and other agencies to ensure a safe march that will accommodate the number of people we anticipate arriving.”

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