Victoria Wolk of Gaithersburg, Maryland, listens to speakers during a rally near Capitol Hill in Washington. AP
Thousands of protestors are expected to rally in Washington, D.C., on Saturday and in separate demonstrations around the country as part of a renewed push for nationwide gun control. Motivated by a fresh surge in mass shootings, from Uvalde, Texas, to Buffalo, New York, protestors say lawmakers must take note of shifting public opinion and finally enact sweeping reforms.
Organisers expect the second March for Our Lives rally to draw around 50,000 demonstrators to the Washington Monument. That’s far less than the original 2018 march, which filled downtown Washington with more than 200,000 people. This time, organisers are focusing on holding smaller marches at an estimated 300 locations.
US sets high bar to settle Facebook antitrust suit
Ukraine pleads for more weapons cholera spreads in Mariupol
“We want to make sure that this work is happening across the country,” said Daud Mumin, co-chairman of the march’s board of directors and a recent graduate of Westminster College in Salt Lake City. “This work is not just about D.C., it’s not just about senators.”
School students hold a gun violence protest in Great Barrington, Massachusetts on Thursday. AP
The first march was spurred by the Feb. 14, 2018, killings of 14 students and three staff members by a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. That massacre sparked the creation of the youth-led March For Our Lives movement, which successfully pressured the Republican-dominated Florida state government to enact sweeping gun control reforms.
The Parkland students then took aim at gun laws in other states and nationally, launching March for Our Lives and holding the big rally in Washington on March 24, 2018.
The group did not match the Florida results at the national level, but has persisted in advocating for gun restrictions since then, as well as participating in voter registration drives.
Reese Duchesne wipes a tear as she cries a during a gun violence protest in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. AP
Now, with another string of mass shootings bringing gun control back into the national conversation, organizers of this weekend’s events say the time is right to renew their push for a national overhaul.
“Right now we are angry,” said Mariah Cooley, a March For Our Lives board member and a senior at Washington’s Howard University. “This will be a demonstration to show that us as Americans, we’re not stopping anytime soon until Congress does their jobs. And if not, we’ll be voting them out.”
The protest comes at a time of renewed political activity on guns and a crucial moment for possible action in Congress.