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Pair of longtime activists join Women’s March on Washington

In this Nov. 15, 2016 photo, inaugural preparations continue on the West Front of Capitol Hill in Washington, looking at the National Mall and Washington Monument. One thing you can count on during inauguration season in Washington: People of all stripes will find a reason to show up, whether it’s to celebrate or commiserate. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON — A massive rally planned in the District for the day after the presidential inauguration is getting a boost from a couple well-known activists.

Organizers of the Women’s March on Washington say that musician Harry Belafonte and writer Gloria Steinem will both participate as honorary co-chairs.

The group Planned Parenthood has partnered with the event to provide resources and help with promotion.

“The Women’s March on Washington aims to send a message to all levels of government that we stand together in solidarity and we expect elected leaders to act to protect the rights of women, their families and their communities,” organizers say on the event’s website.

People are expected to gather for the march starting at 10 a.m. Jan. 21 near the U.S. Capitol, at Independence Avenue and Third Street.

“The planning process will be ongoing until days before the march, and we will continue to work closely with the National Park Service, Metropolitan Police Department, Homeland Security, Capitol Police, and other agencies to ensure a safe march with all logistics in place to accommodate the number of people we anticipate convening,” organizers say.

“For security reasons, we will not release any further details about march logistics until a later date.”

Although it is not clear how many people will show up at the rally, there are indications the crowds will be very large. Hotels in and around D.C. have been filling up with visitors who plan to attend.

“There’s a lot of momentum in regards to groups of individuals that are coming to the region and staying in hotels,” said Elliott Ferguson, president and CEO with the tourism group Destination DC.

“Washington benefits from individuals and freedom of speech and wanting to come into the city and be a part of something that’s important to them, and that’s what’s happening.”

On the Women’s March on Washington Facebook page, more than 150,000 people say they plan to be at the event. More than 240,000 others say they are interested in attending.

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