Fact Check: 'DC Park Service' Did NOT Put The Number Of People Attending The 'Million MAGA March' At 11,600

Fact Check

  • by: Alexis Tereszcuk
Fact Check: 'DC Park Service' Did NOT Put The Number Of People Attending The 'Million MAGA March' At 11,600 Bad Math

Did the "DC Park Service" put the number of people attending the "Million MAGA March" in Washington, D.C., at 11,600? No, that's not true. No agency released that number as an official crowd estimate. The National Park Service, not the "DC Park Service," manages federal areas including Washington's Freedom Plaza where the November 14, 2020, march was centered. The National Park Service does not release crowd numbers, a spokesperson told Lead Stories. While Trump administration officials and supporters claimed that the Million MAGA March had over a million people attending, news organizations were no more specific than estimating the crowd at "tens of thousands."

The claim appeared as a post (archived here) where it was published on Instagram on November 17, 2020. It opened:

Trump supporters are bragging about how MORE THAN A MILLION people showed up at the rally yesterday, when the DC Park Service put the number at 11,600.

Users on social media saw this post:

Lead Stories previously debunked claims that photographs showed a million people attended the rally. The photos were from an event in a different city years earlier.

The march -- which went by several names: Million MAGA March, March for Trump and Stop the Steal DC -- was primarily held in Freedom Plaza but tens of thousands of attendees were on multiple streets surrounding the area.

There is no "DC Park Service" the National Park Service oversees the national parks, federal lands and monuments in Washington, D.C.

Mike Litterst, a spokesman for the National Park Service, told Lead Stories via email on November 17, 2020, that the agency did not release the 11,600 number.

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. No estimate was made for Saturday's event."

A permit was issued to Cindy Chafian Women for America First for Freedom Plaza for 10,000 people, Litterst confirmed to Lead Stories.

The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) in Washington, D.C., told Lead Stories via telephone on November 17, 2020, "We do not give out crowd number estimates."

The capacity for Freedom Plaza is 13,900 according to the National Park Service website but all images from the march show thousands of people on side streets around the area.
Screen Shot 2020-11-17 at 3.21.10 PM.png

The 11,600 number is an unconfirmed number that has no published credibility. It appeared on social media with users crediting "DC Park Services" for the amount.

The attendees at the march were not only at Freedom Plaza - they were on many streets surrounding the area and they marched near the White House and to the Supreme Court.

FOX News published an article on November 14, 20202 titled, "Thousands of Pro-Trump supporters descend on DC for 'Million MAGA March' near White House," noting within the story the number of attendees was "tens of thousands."

"Tens of thousands of President Trump supporters gathered Saturday in Washington echoed claims of voter fraud and urged him not to concede to President-elect Joe Biden -- then were rewarded by an appearance from Trump himself.

The New York Times published an article titled, "Thousands rally in Washington as clashes erupt," noting there were thousands of people in attendance.

NPR reported "thousands" of attendees marched to the Supreme Court in an article titled, "Trump Supporters, Counterprotesters Clash At D.C. Rally Contesting Biden's Victory," with photographs showing march attendees at several locations in Washington, D.C.

Politifact debunked the claim that a million people attended the rally.

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  Alexis Tereszcuk

Alexis Tereszcuk is a writer and fact checker at Lead Stories and an award-winning journalist who spent over a decade breaking hard news and celebrity scoop with RadarOnline and Us Weekly.

As the Entertainment Editor, she investigated Hollywood stories and conducted interviews with A-list celebrities and reality stars.  

Alexis’ crime reporting earned her spots as a contributor on the Nancy Grace show, CNN, Fox News and Entertainment Tonight, among others.

Read more about or contact Alexis Tereszcuk

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