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Women's March Returns to DC            01/19 11:13

   The Women's March was returning to Washington on Saturday, bracing for 
inclement weather, coping with an ideological split and reconfiguring its route 
due to the government shutdown.

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Women's March was returning to Washington on 
Saturday, bracing for inclement weather, coping with an ideological split and 
reconfiguring its route due to the government shutdown.

   The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump's 
inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people. The exact size of the 
turnout remains subject to a politically charged debate, but it's generally 
regarded as the largest Washington protest since the Vietnam era.

   Organizer this year submitted a permit application estimating that up to 
500,000 people would participate, but the actual turnout was expected to be far 
lower. Parallel marches were planned in dozens of U.S. cities.

   The original plan called for participants to gather on the National Mall. 
But with the forecast calling for snow and freezing rain and the National Park 
Service no longer plowing the snow, organizers changed the march's location and 
route to start at Freedom Plaza, a few blocks from the White House, and head 
down Pennsylvania Avenue past the Trump International Hotel.

   This year's march has been roiled by an intense ideological debate.

   In November, Teresa Shook, one of the movement's founders, accused the four 
main leaders of the national march organization of anti-Semitism. The 
accusation was leveled at two primary leaders: Linda Sarsour, a 
Palestinian-American who has criticized Israeli policy, and Tamika Mallory, who 
has maintained an association with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

   Shook, a retired lawyer from Hawaii, has been credited with sparking the 
movement by creating a Facebook event that went viral and snowballed into the 
massive protest on Jan. 21, 2017. In a Facebook post, she claimed Sarsour and 
Mallory, along with fellow organizers Bob Bland and Carmen Perez, had "steered 
the Movement away from its true course" and called for all four to step down.

   The four march organizers have denied the charge, but Sarsour has publicly 
expressed regret that they were not "faster and clearer in helping people 
understand our values."

   Despite pleas for unity, an alternate women's march has sprung up in protest 
and planned a parallel rally in New York on Saturday a few blocks away from the 
official New York Women's March protest.


(KA)

 
 
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