Thousands join ‘Families Belong Together’ march, rally in sweltering DC

An estimated crowd of more than 30,000 people rallied in downtown D.C. to protest the Trump administration's immigration policies for the "Families Belong Together."

WASHINGTON — Under a scorching sun, a big crowd of demonstrators jammed Lafayette Square and spilled over into Farragut Square to protest the Trump administration’s immigration policies for the “Families Belong Together” march and rally Saturday in downtown D.C.

The rally began at 11 a.m. in Lafayette Park and featured several speakers including Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of musical “Hamilton,” and actress America Ferrera.

The spillover crowd in Farragut Square watched a Jumbotron to follow the action from the stage in Lafayette Park. Following the rally, many of the protesters marched down Pennsylvania Avenue.

Most of the demonstrators came prepared for the stifling, hot weather, wearing light-colored, loose-fitting clothing and hats to guard against the blazing midday sun.

“We contemplated skipping this, because it’s such a hot day … But how can you … sit home and not make your voice heard? It’s too important. We would have just felt horrible not doing this,” said Melissa Maher, of Baltimore, Maryland.

D.C. Fire Engine 16 tapped a fire hydrant at 16th and H Street Northwest, dispensing a spray of water over the intersection to provide demonstrators some relief from the heat.

The National Park Service said organizers expected 50,000 people to attend Saturday’s rally, which is ten times what organizers initially expected when they filed for a permit.

A view of the route for Saturday’s “Families Belong Together” march and rally in downtown D.C. (Courtesy “Families Belong Together”)

The rally was one of more than 600 marches planned across the country protesting the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy that separates children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.

On Thursday, Capitol police arrested nearly 600 people as they demonstrated inside a Senate office building.

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