The March for Our Lives was big, just not nearly as big as organizers said it was.
Multiple media outlets reported that the Saturday gun-control rally in D.C. drew more than 850,000 protesters, citing march organizers, which would have surpassed the massive 2017 Women’s March by more than 300,000.
The problem is that two separate expert analyses, using aerial imaging and photographs, put the march crowd in the 200,000 range, or about a quarter of the widely touted 850,000 figure.
Digital Design & Imaging Service in Falls Church, Virginia, estimated the peak crowd size at 202,796, with a 15 percent margin of error, according to CBS News.
A separate estimate by a team of research scientists led by G. Keith Still, professor at Manchester Metropolitan University in England, said the crowd was even smaller, pegging the number of protesters at about 180,000, according to the New York Times.
Mr. Still had placed the 2017 Women’s March crowd at the National Mall at about 470,000, which is in line with other estimates showing the number of protesters between 440,000 to 500,000.
In a press release, the March for Our Lives said that that march had “exceed[ed] expectations.” The National Park Service permit application had estimated a crowd of 500,000 in D.C.
“While Washington, D.C. authorities have yet to give an official estimate, reports published by major news organizations put the crowd size at 850,000 people, which would make it the largest demonstration in the capital’s history,” said the release by 42West, a leading Los Angeles public-relations firm.
Those media reports were based on the organizers’ estimates, including a tweet by March for Our Lives that declared “[m]ore than 850,000 marched with us in DC yesterday.”
— March For Our Lives (@AMarch4OurLives) March 25, 2018
“March for Our Lives Organizers Estimate 800,000 People Attended the D.C. Rally,” said Teen Vogue.
The National Park Service no longer provides crowd estimates following squabbles with protest groups about crowd size.
“It is clear that march was attended by an impressive amount of people,” said Legal Insurrection in a Sunday post. “It is also clear why the march’s organizers would want to inflate the numbers. Every march’s organizers seem to do this going back to the Nation of Islam’s Louis Farrakhan’s 1995 ‘Million Man March.’”
The event, spurred by the deadly Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, drew support from a host of celebrities, corporations and gun-control groups.