The third march of women faces the winter weather, a closure and charges of anti-Semitism



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By Kalhan Rosenblatt, Courtney Buble and Phil McCausland

WASHINGTON – Protesters gathered for the third Women's March on Saturday, and took to the cold, wet streets for the second march to take place during a government shutdown.

This year's attendees appeared less in number than Marches of women in the past, possibly as a result of allegations of anti-Semitism against the organizers. However, those who showed up at the march expressed enthusiasm for the event.

"It's such a movement, and it's so powerful to be around so many people who celebrate women and fight for change," said Shannon Lydon, a recent Boston College graduate who attends the march for the first time in Washington.

The organizers of the Women's March said it would be difficult to estimate overall participation this year, but they said that "there are almost 300 marches throughout the country."

They said that the march of 2017, attended by hundreds of thousands of protesters, "was the product of a specific political moment that can not be repeated. The work, however, has never stopped. "

At the march in New York City, Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, D-N.Y., Joined the demonstrators as they headed downtown.

"It's so exciting, it's so exciting to see so many New Yorkers, to see so many women across the country who are coming together and showing that we are still taking a presence and that we are going to push for the agenda that we choose so many people to move forward," he said. to MSNBC.

Although the progressive brand of fire took to the streets, the DNC and many other Democratic leaders have distanced themselves from the march.

Mallory and Perez have since said that they condemn anti-Semitism and tried to distance themselves from the Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrakhan, who has made numerous anti-Semitic and homophobic statements. Mallory attended an event organized by Farrakhan.

The controversy has also led to the emergence of a rival march organized by the Forum of Independent Women, which is expected to occur simultaneously.

But attendees said these accusations should not disrupt the focus of the Women's March.

"We believe that the March of women has been shown as a big tent, that both publicly, in words and actions, indicated that they are against anti-Semitism, against fanaticism," said David Weinreich, 47, who attended . The march from Silver Spring, Maryland. "And while some of the statements we have seen have been worrisome, we do not believe that this means that we should not be here in solidarity with people of all kinds, of all religions, all races, of all backgrounds. topics that interest us ".

Jennifer Beshaw, 49, works in nursing home care and she accepted. "As much as we worry, we should care more about the government, I am not saying that the things that happened are not relevant, but we do not need to divide ourselves into marginal groups."

Douglas Chavarria, 23, lives and works in Maryland. He said that gender should not matter in a conversation about equality, but said he was worried about accusations of anti-Semitism.

However, he added that the mission of the march should not derail.

"We must not forget what the purpose and message of this day is for many years: in the 20th century we are still fighting for women's rights," said Chavarria.

Many others said that accusations should not stop the central principle of the march, to empower women. That single objective must annul the actions of the individuals.

Rebecca Davis, 31, took her 10-year-old daughter MacKenzie Davis to the event and MacKenzie was quick to announce that "I already love it". He held up a sign with an Albus Dumbledore quote from the Harry Potter book series: "While we can come from different places and speak in different languages, our hearts beat like one."

"I'm showing him that so many people can join and make a difference," Davis said of his daughter.

People who attended the march said they had many reasons to face the cold and damp conditions, and many women pointed to the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh in the Supreme Court amid allegations of badual misconduct as proof that more work was needed .

"Especially with the things of Kavanaugh, the closure of the government, everything that is happening right now, I think it motivated us a lot to want to travel here again," said Katie Rash, a therapist from Roanoke, Virginia.

Protesters hold signs during the Women's Unity Rally in Foley Square on January 19, 2019 in New York City.Angela Weiss / AFP – Getty Images

As the second consecutive march that occurred during a government shutdown, and with the forecast of winter precipitation on the way, the organization of the March of the Woman changed its location from the beginning of the Lincoln Memorial to the Plaza de la Libertad, said the organizers

The interim head of Public Affairs for the National Park Service, Mike Litterst, told NBC News that the lapse of appropriations resulting from the closure of the government would not affect his ability to hold the event.

"As is always the case, including the events during the closure now and in January 2018, the Women's March will take place regardless of the timeframe of the badignments, and the National Parks Service and the Parks Police The United States will guarantee public safety and protection of park resources during the event, "he said.

"The closure of the federal government has a minimal effect on the daily functions of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). MPD is fully equipped to handle First Amendment bademblies of any stature in the District of Columbia, "Alaina Gertz, public affairs specialist at the Metropolitan Police Department of California, told NBC News.

Kalhan Rosenblatt

Kalhan Rosenblatt is a reporter for NBC News, based in New York.

Courtney Buble

Courtney Buble reports for NBC News from Washington.

Phil McCausland is an NBC News reporter focused on the rural-urban divide.

Hannah Breisinger and Emily Chavez contributed


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