FACT CHECK: Did The ‘DC Park Service’ Say Less Than 12,000 People Attended The ‘Million MAGA March’?
An image shared on Facebook claims the “DC Park Service says less than 12,000 people showed up for Trump’s ‘Million MAGA March.'”
There is no “DC Park Service.” A spokesperson for the National Park Service, which no longer makes crowd size estimates, refuted the claim.
Supporters of President Donald Trump gathered in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 14 for the “Million MAGA March” to protest against the projected win for President-elect Joe Biden, according to CBS News. The image being shared claims the “DC Park Service” estimated less than 12,000 people attended the march.
The “DC Park Service” does not exist. The post appears to be referencing the National Park Service (NPS) which maintains U.S. national parks such as those in D.C. The NPS, however, no longer makes estimates for crowd sizes, Mike Litterst, chief of communications for the National Mall and Memorial Parks, told Check Your Fact via email.
“Due to the difficulty in accurately assessing crowd size for large events, most notably following 1995’s Million Man March, the National Park Service no longer makes crowd estimates for events,” Litterst said. “No estimate was made for Saturday’s event.”
The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) likewise does not estimate crowd sizes, MPD spokesperson Alaina Gertz said in an email. (RELATED: No, This Photo Does Not Show The ‘Million MAGA March’ In DC)
The claim may originate from a permit given to the organizers of the event from the NPS. A copy of the permit obtained by WUSA 9 shows the “Anticipated Number or Participants” for the event in Freedom Plaza is 10,000. The permit accounts for the number of attendees in Freedom Plaza, but does not appear to account for demonstrators who gathered outside of the plaza.
The exact size of the “Million MAGA March” crowd is unknown, though Reuters debunked the claim that a million people attended the march. CBS News reported that “thousands” of people showed up, while USA Today reported that “tens of thousands” attended the “Million MAGA March.”