by Mary Margaret Olohan
A permit for the 57th March on Washington obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation shows that organizers anticipate around 50,000 people will attend the Washington, D.C., event Friday.
The permit for the annual march from the National Park Service grants permission to “conduct a public gathering” to Rev. Mark Thompson and the National Action Network (NAN) to commemorate the 57th March on Washington despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic that has led to limitations on public gatherings.
An estimated 50,000 attendees are anticipated to attend the event, the permit shows. The original permit application estimated 100,000 attendees, local outlet Fox5 reported.
NPS spokesman Mike Litterst told the DCNF that NPS will not “require nor enforce” the use of social distancing and masks, but organizers told Fox5 that they will require attendees to wear masks.
“We worked with the organizers on instituting proper measures to prevent the spread of COVID and other infectious diseases, and the permit reflects those measures,” Litterst said. “However, while the National Park Service strongly encourages social distancing, the use of masks and other measures to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, we will not require nor enforce their use.”
The “Commitment March: Get Your Knee Off Our Necks” is scheduled to take place August 28, according to the event’s website.
“Participants will assemble at the Lincoln Memorial to conduct a ‘First Amendment civil rights demonstration 57 years after the March on Washington,’” the permit says. “Activity will involve speeches, live entertainment, an Interfaith Ecumenical Prayer Service and free literature distribution.”
“Permittee estimates a maximum crowd size of (50,000) participants,” the permit adds. “Permittee has indicated that civil disobedience will not be a part of this First Amendment demonstration.”
Mayor Murial Bowser ordered July 27 that any individuals who come to Washington, D.C., after traveling from a high risk state for non-essential purposes must quarantine for 14 days. Bowser did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the scheduled Commitment March.
1/ Beginning today, Monday, July 27, anyone coming into Washington, DC from a high-risk state (within the prior 14 days) who was traveling for non-essential activities will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days from their arrival in the District.
— Mayor Muriel Bowser (@MayorBowser) July 27, 2020
Bowser abruptly ended her press conference when she was questioned about the anniversary of the March on Washington during a late July press conference.
“No, I didn’t say that,” Bowser said, according to WJLA, after a reporter asked if those attending the March would need to quarantine for two weeks after arriving in the city before the March. “What I said is, if there are people who would be coming from jurisdictions that are on that list, they would need to be quarantined.”
“So they would need to be here two weeks before they march,” the reporter asked.
“I didn’t say that. Let me be clear,” Bowser said, according to the publication. “Alright, I’m done there, thank you,” Bowser said after a follow-up question from the reporter, video shows.
As of Aug. 24, Washington D.C. health officials required travelers from 30 states to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
Bowser said Aug. 17 that the march was being “reimagined” to adjust to the pandemic.
“So it’s not a big march that was initially envisioned, but a seated event where the number of seats would be limited, people would be checked going into the seated area and it would be a much smaller attendance,” she said, according to WJLA.
The NAN website includes a warning about the coronavirus pandemic for those coming to the March: “If you are travelling to Washington DC for the August 28, 2020 March on Washington (The Commitment March) please be sure to review all coronavirus travel & health related information on the DC website at www.coronavirus.dc.gov.”
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Mary Margaret Olohan is a reporter for the Daily Caller News Foundation.