Police estimate: 60,000 in Atlanta for the social justice march to the Capitol


5:36 p.m. -- We’re wrapping up from the Capitol. The crowds are leaving, and law enforcement officials expect to soon open the streets to traffic.

4:50 p.m. -- From Georgia Equality’s Jeff Graham:

4:42 p.m. -- 60,000 is the new estimate from the Atlanta Police Department. 

“The march has been peaceful and without incident,” said APD Sgt. Warren Pickard in an email.

4:30 p.m. -- Our colleague, Raisa Habersham, spoke with Elizabeth Brady, 27, a math teacher from Clayton County, who marched today in Atlanta. Here’s why she said she marched:

“I don’t have one specific reason -- it’s everything. The direction the country is taking is scaring me and I just wanted to come out and walk with people that had the same mindset that I did and who are just as afraid as I am. 

I have two things most personal to me: One is healthcare; my brother is Type-1 diabetic. He’s been under my parents’ health insurance since he was 11 years old and he turns 26 this July.

If Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act goes away, my brother won’t have anything to pay for his insulin. And it’s not his fault he has that disease and I don’t think that is something he should be faulted for. 

And also, I’m a woman and I’ve gone to Planned Parenthood and I’ve gotten free birth control for the last eight years and because of my free birth control I have not brought in kids to this world I haven’t been able to care for.

I feel like that has helped our economy overall, just because I’ve been able to make that choice not to have children. 

4:02 p.m. -- Marchers are still filing into the streets around the state Capitol, although there will soon be few places for them to squeeze in.

Law enforcement has blocked off Martin Luther King Jr. Drive near the entrance to the downtown Connector. Capitol Drive is blocked off at Memorial Drive. Washington and Mitchell streets are also blocked off at the Capitol building.

3:48: p.m. -- The crowd of marchers in Atlanta has grown to 15,000. That comes from the Office of Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. Marchers are gathering at Liberty Plaza at the state Capitol.

3:40 p.m.  -- The leading edge of the march has reached the state Capitol. At least 10,000 marchers are gathered in Atlanta, most of them still fanned out along the 1.7 mile route. The tail end of the march has finally left the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, where the event began

3:23 p.m. -- Our colleague, Rhonda Cook, reports that some marchers haven’t started yet and are still at the Center (where the march started in downtown Atlanta).

They’re getting impatient, she said, and chanting, “Let’s go!”

The front of the march, meanwhile, is nearing the state Capitol, where the march is scheduled to end.

3:16 p.m. -- Former state senator and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jason Carter (yes, he’s Jimmy Carter’s grandson) is marching:

3:13 p.m. -- If you’re following along online, here’s an update of where the marchers are:

3:10 p.m. -- A good shot of the crowd at the start of the march, from the Center where it started:

2:47 p.m. -- More from John Lewis, who is walking with the marchers. From our colleague, Rhonda Cook:

"You look beautiful. You look fine and you're ready to agitate."  He said they have a "moral mission and mandate to agitate."

"Something. You can't sit on the side. I want to thank you for standing up, speaking up, getting into trouble. Necessary trouble." 

 Crowd chanted "thank you, John." Someone yelled:"I love you."  

Lewis "I love you, too."

2:31 p.m. -- Meanwhile, in Chicago:

2:24 p.m. -- They’re on the march:

2:14 p.m. -- John Lewis is ready: “Got on your marching shoes?” he asks the crowd. “Let’s do it!”

The crowd stretches to CNN Center, according to our colleagues.

2:09 p.m. -- U.S. Rep. John Lewis -- who drew President Donald Trump’s ire when he called the then-president elect illegitimate -- is taking the stage at the march. 

He is joining Stacey Abrams, who is speaking. The march is in Lewis’s congressional district, which Trump had blasted as “horrible’ and “crime infested “ in a tweet last weekend.

Lewis faces a supportive hometown crowd. Marchers jockey to take his picture. As Lewis prepares to speak, the crowd starts to chant: “Fifth District!”

Read More: Led by John Lewis, at least 65 House Democrats boycott inauguration

2:00 p.m. -- Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, D-Atlanta, is now up. John Lewis on deck:

1:55 p.m. -- There are about 10,000 people now at the Center for the march, according to an estimate given to us by the Atlanta Police Department. 

1:50 p.m. -- Gerald Griggs, with the Atlanta NAACP chapter, tells the crowd that he wanted to get involved in the march because his 8-year-old daughter asked him if the “bad man” won, and whether he was going to do anything about it.

With the crowd chanting “not one step back,” Griggs tells them that his message today is to tell the president, “we’re not going back from civil rights.”

The crowd boos when Trump’s name is mentioned, but those boos turn to cheers when Griggs says, “we’re the people.”

1:40 p.m. -- Speakers have started addressing the crowd at the Center. The crowd has swelled; our colleagues estimate that several thousand people are here, despite the stormy weather.

1:20 p.m. -- A soft rain is still coming down as protesters gathered, readying for the march to the state Capitol.

Our colleague, Rhonda Cook, says signs are everywhere. Among them: “A woman’s place is in the revolution” and “Hands off my uterus.”

Many families are on hand. Colorful umbrellas dot the scene. Participants said they have not been discouraged by the rain. 

Lee Ann Jones, 59, of Atlanta, said the last time she had been at the center was to celebrate the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling on same sex marriage. Jones said she came today “to bring some visibility to social justice issues.”

She said she was surprised by the size of the crowd and it made her hopeful.

Allison Perry, of Decatur, brought along her 4-½-year-old daughter, Vivienne: “I feel like a lot of our rights are being taken away,” she said.

Other signs signaled support for Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee who lost to President Donald Trump in November. 

“I’m With Her,” read one, repeating Clinton’s campaign slogan. 

Georgia congressman John Lewis, the civil rights icon who is scheduled to speak to the crowd today, was also popular among the crowd: “I stand with John Lewis,” read one sign.

Trump lashed out at Lewis after the Atlanta Democrat called Trump’s presidency illegitimate.

1 p.m. -- At least a few hundred people have already gathered at the Center for Civil and Human Rights in downtown Atlanta, with more streaming in by the minute, according to our colleagues on the grounds.

Among them were Sue Hunter and Terry Hamrick, who were riding to the center on MARTA, starting at the Midtown Arts Center station.

“It’s just water,” they said of the torrential rain that had been pelting the region for hours. “We’re still going to go out there and march for justice.”

They also brought with them a sign, which our colleague Michelle Baruchman captured on her phone:

Original: Organizers have announced a 30-minute delay for today’s Atlanta March for Social Justice and Women, as rain continues to sweep through metro Atlanta.

The event is now expected to get underway at 1:30 p.m., starting at the Center for Civil and Human Rights near the city’s downtown Centennial Park. It’s one of more than 600 marches planned for today across the nation and internationally, all timed to coincide with the Women’s March on Washington.

MORE: Things to know about today’s Atlanta women’s march 

MORE: Thousands descend onto Washington for women’s march

Supporters said they want to raise awareness to what they view as threats to civil liberties and human rights under the new GOP-led Congress and administration of President Donald Trump.

In Atlanta, organizers are hoping for at least 10,000 participants. Speakers include Georgia congressman John Lewis and House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, D-Atlanta.


Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Georgia Politics

Trump promises Americans ‘huge tax cut’ for Christmas
Trump promises Americans ‘huge tax cut’ for Christmas

President Donald Trump on Monday promised a tax overhaul by Christmas, a day after the White House signaled its willingness to strike a health care provision from Senate tax legislation if it’s an impediment to passing the tax bill. Speaking before a Cabinet meeting, Trump said: “We’re going to give the American people a huge tax...
President Trump discounts accusations against Roy Moore
President Trump discounts accusations against Roy Moore

President Donald Trump discounted allegations of sexual assault against Alabama Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore and said Tuesday that voters should not support Moore’s “liberal” rival. Trump addressed the swirling controversy surrounding Moore for the first time since top Republican leaders called on Moore to step aside more than...
Warden for troubled Georgia prison hospital reassigned
Warden for troubled Georgia prison hospital reassigned

The warden who has been in charge at Augusta State Medical Prison for the last 18 months has been reassigned, a signal that state corrections officials want new leadership at the facility as it deals with the sanitation and safety concerns recently brought to light by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Georgia Department of Corrections...
Lawsuit seeks to end Georgia’s restrictions on third-party candidates
Lawsuit seeks to end Georgia’s restrictions on third-party candidates

Georgia’s restrictions on third-party candidates trying to run for the U.S. House of Representatives should be declared unconstitutional, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court Tuesday by the Libertarian Party of Georgia. No third-party candidate in Georgia has ever collected enough signatures to appear on the ballot for the U.S....
The Left questions the reasons behind deporting Haitians who were here legally
The Left questions the reasons behind deporting Haitians who were here legally

Thousands of Haitians have now lost their Temporary Protected Status, the deportation protection that allowed them to live and work in the United States following the devastating earthquake of 2010. A roundup of editorials Tuesday takes a look at the issue. From The New York Daily News: Trump’s decision is not about undocumented immigrants. The...
More Stories