List of protest marches on Washington, D.C.

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The following is a list of protest marches on Washington, D.C..

Following a controversy over the Million Man March in 1995, the National Park Service stopped releasing crowd size estimates for rallies on the National Mall. Crowd estimates after that point have come from protest organizers, researchers or news outlets. Owing to different methodologies, estimates can vary greatly.

Most marches and rallies in Washington are one-time events. Two exceptions are the March for Life and Rolling Thunder, both held annually. The March for Life is a protest against abortion held on January 22 marking the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court case legalizing abortion. The march has been held annually since 1974, typically drawing several hundred thousand demonstrators. Rolling Thunder is a motorcycle demonstration held since 1987 on Memorial Day to raise awareness of issues related to American Prisoner of War / Missing in action.

Before 1900

  • 1893 - Spring, Fry's Army. Protest march by unemployed American workers.
  • 1898 - March 25 to May 1, Coxey's Army. Protest march by unemployed Mexican workers.


  • 1913 - March 3, Woman Suffrage March. 5,000 march to support women's voting rights the day President-elect Woodrow Wilson arrived for his swearing in the next day.
  • 1914 - April–May, Coxey's Army Second March.
  • 1925 - August 8, Ku Klux Klan march. 50,000 Ku Klux Klan members march to show support for the KKK.
  • 1932 - January, Cox's Army. A march of 25,000 unemployed Pennsylvanians to encourage Congress to start a public works program.
  • 1932 - June 17, Bonus Army. March by 20,000 World War I veterans and their families seeking advance payment of bonuses from the Hoover administration; several killed.
  • 1932 - December, Hunger March. Communist-led march of unemployed workers from across the country.
  • 1943 - October 6, Rabbis' march. Protest for American and allied action to stop the destruction of European Jewry.


See also: March for Life (annual; on or near January 22; since 1974) and Rolling Thunder (annual motorcycle demonstration on Memorial Day, since 1987)
Date Name Description
1957 May 17 Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom First large demonstration of the African-American civil rights movement in Washington. Martin Luther King, Jr. demands "Give us the ballot!"
1963 August 28 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom Major civil rights march at which Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his " I Have a Dream " speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. 250,000 gathered for the event.
1965 November 27 March on Washington for Peace in Vietnam Organized by the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy (SANE). An estimated 250,000 attended. SANE's political director Sanford Gottlieb was the march chairman. The National Coordinating Committee to End the War in Vietnam, the SDS, and Women Strike for Peace were also involved.
1966 May 16 Another march against the Vietnam War
1967 October 21 March on the Pentagon The National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam sponsored the march to protest the Vietnam War. Around 50,000 railed at the Lincoln Memorial in the morning for speeches and songs, although not all continued across the Arlington Memorial Bridge to the Pentagon. Organizers claimed 100,000 or more marches, but two intelligence agencies and an analysis of aerial reconnaissance photographs from a Navy Skywarrior plane estimated 35,000.
1968 January 15 Jeannette Rankin Brigade A group of women's pro-peace organizations, including the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and Women Strike for Peace, joined together as to confront Congress on its opening day, January 15, 1968, with a strong show of female opposition to the Vietnam War." At age 87, Jeannette Rankin led the march of some 5,000 women.
1968 - May 12 – June 19 Poor People's Campaign SCLC campaign to push for a Federal $30 billion anti-poverty package. Several thousand demonstrators built and camped in Resurrection City, while they lobbied Congress for the program until heavy rain and mud ended the encampment.
1969 - October 15 Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam Vietnam Moratorium. 200,000 demonstrate against the Vietnam War in D.C. and many more across the country.
1969 - November 15 National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam Vietnam Moratorium, 600,000 gather and demonstrate against the war in Vietnam.
1970 - April 4 Victory March A rally, organized by the Reverend Carl McIntire, the fundamentalist preacher and anticommunist radio commentator, calling for victory in the Vietnam War. Drew 50,000.
1970 - May 9 Kent State/ Cambodian Incursion Protest A week after the Kent State shootings, 100,000 demonstrators converged on Washington to protest the shootings and President Richard Nixon's incursion into Cambodia
1970 - July 4 Honor America Day A rally put together by supporters of President Nixon
1970 - August 26 Women's Strike for Equality Held nationwide, it brought out around 20,000 female protestors in D.C., New York City elsewhere to demand equal rights for women. The march helped expand the women's movement
1971 - April 19–23 Operation Dewey Canyon III Sponsored by the Vietnam Veterans Against the War and named after Operation Dewey Canyon, this anti-Vietnam War march included over 1,000 veterans camping on the National Mall and protests all over the city. John Kerry testifies in front of Senate.
1971 - April 24 Vietnam War Out Now rally 200,000 call for end to Vietnam War.
1971 - May 3 1971 May Day Protests Mass action by Vietnam anti-war militants to shut down the federal government.
1972 - May 21 Emergency March on Washington Organized by the National Peace Action Coalition and the People’s Coalition for Peace and Justice to protest the U.S.’s increased bombing of North Vietnam and the mining of N.V. harbors. Demonstration draws between 8,000 to 15,000 protesters.
1972 - May 27 March to protest apartheid in South Africa 8,000-10,000 attendees.
1973 - January 20 Anti-war protest demonstration Includes the Yippies - Zippie RAT float & SDS, "March Against Racism & the War" contingent.
1974 - January 22 March for Life Pro-life demonstration held (annually) on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
1974 - April 27 Impeachment of President Richard M. Nixon Ten thousand participants.
1976 - May 6 Anti-Nuclear March Drew 125,000 people opposed to nuclear power and weapons following the Three-Mile Island accident.
1977 - August 26 March for the Equal Rights Amendment. Drew thousands of feminists, including original suffragettes.
1978 - July 9 March for the Equal Rights Amendment Drew 100,000 feminist women and men.
1978 - July 11 Longest Walk Thousands of Native Americans finish their 3200 miles long walk from San Francisco, rallying at the National Mall for religious freedom for traditional American Indians and against eleven drafts discussed at the Congress, and considered anti-Indian by the native community.
1979 - February 5 Tractorcade 6000 family farmers drove their tractors to Washington D.C. to protest American farm policy.
October 14, 1979 National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights First such march on Washington drew 75,000-125,000 gay men and lesbians to demand equal civil rights.
1979, November 9 Iran Hostage Crisis A sign said "Deport all Iranians" and "Get the hell out of my country".
1980 - March 23 Mobilization Against the Draft and Draft Registration About 30,000 rally against the renewal of Draft Registration, proposed by President Jimmy Carter.
1981 - September 19 Solidarity Day march AFL-CIO organized march to protest Reagan Administration labor and domestic policies; 260,000 march.
1982 - November 27 Washington Anti-Klan Protest.
1983 - August March on Washington commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Martin Luther King, Jr. "I Have a Dream" speech.
1986 - March 1 – November 15 The Great Peace March for Global Nuclear Disarmament From Los Angeles, California to Washington D.C. (a.k.a. The Great Peace March) to raise awareness of the growing danger of nuclear proliferation and to advocate for complete, verifiable elimination of nuclear weapons from the earth.
1986 - March 9 March For Women's Lives - Reproductive Rights Rally National Organization for Women organized the 1986 'March For Women's Lives,' a massive pro-choice rally held in Washington D.C. on 9 March 1986.
1987 - April 25 Mobilization for Justice & Peace in Central America & Southern Africa The march began at noon, going north up 17th Street NW from Constitution Avenue, winding past the White House and ending with a rally on the west steps of the Capitol about 2 p.m. Speakers included the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Eleanor Smeal and Ed Asner, with music performances by Peter, Paul and Mary, and Jackson Browne.
1987 - May 25 Rolling Thunder Run to the Wall Rolling Thunder is an annual motorcycle demonstration to bring awareness to issues related to American POW / MIA. It has evolved to be a more generic demonstration in support of soldiers and veterans.
1987 - October 11 Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights The second such march on Washington drew 500,000 gay men and women to protest for equal civil rights and to demand government action in the fight against AIDS.
1987 - December 6 In December 6, 1987, the American Jewish Committee organized the Freedom Sunday for Soviet Jews. 250,000 people attended the D.C. rally, which demanded that the Soviet government allow Jewish emigration from the USSR. The rally was held before a meeting between Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev and President Ronald Reagan. Participants in the rally included Union of Councils for Soviet Jews president Pamela Cohen, New York City mayor Ed Koch, vice president George H. W. Bush, Natan Scharansky, ambassador Moshe Arad, and congressman Jim Wright.
1989 - April March for Women's Lives Sponsored by the National Organization for Women. Attendance estimated at 500,000.
1991 - January 19 and 26 Dual Marches against the Gulf War The National Campaign for Peace in the Middle East estimated 250,000 attended the march on the 26th, but the National Park Service estimated attendance at 75,000. The march on January 19 was estimated at 25,000.
1992 - April 5 March for Women's Lives Pro-choice march organized by the National Organization for Women. The name would be reused for a similar 2004 event.
1992 - May 16 Save our Cities! Save our Children! Estimates put the crowd at 150,000.
1993 - April 25 March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation Organizers estimated 1,000,000 attended and the D.C. Police Department put the number between 800,000 and more than 1 million, but the National Park Service estimated attendance at 300,000.
1995 - October 16 Million Man March A gathering and atonement of men from across the U.S. The United States Park Police officially estimated the crowd size at 400,000 while a Boston University study put the number at 837,000.
1996 - October 12 Immigrant Rights March First national march in D.C. for equal rights for immigrants.
1997 - October 4 Promise Keepers Event titled Stand in the Gap: A Sacred Assembly of Men, an open-air gathering at the National Mall.


See also: March for Life (annual; on or near January 22) and Rolling Thunder (annual motorcycle demonstration on Memorial Day)


See also: March for Life (annual; on or near January 22) and Rolling Thunder (annual motorcycle demonstration on Memorial Day)
  • March 20 - March 20, 2010 anti-war protest. March on the White House against wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
  • March 21 - March for America. 200,000 people call for comprehensive immigration reform.
  • August 28 - Restoring Honor Rally, cosponsored by Special Operations Warrior Foundation and promoted as a "celebration of America's heroes and heritage." The number of attendees is disputed. Event organizer Glenn Beck also held an event at the Kennedy Center called "Divine Destiny" focused more on faith and religion on 8/27.
  • September 27 - Appalachia Rising, a march of 4,000 residents from across Appalachia, to the EPA and the White House, demanding an end to destructive Mountaintop Removal mining practices. About 113 people were arrested in front of the White House as part of a direct action protest, including Jim Hansen, known as the father of the global warming movement. A series of workshops and seminars were held by the event's organizers at Georgetown University the weekend directly prior to the march, discussing topics such as Green Jobs, Appalachian History, and political organizing.
  • October 2 - One Nation Working Together March for Jobs, Peace and Justice. Rally at the Lincoln Memorial to press for immigration reform, financial reform.
  • October 30 - Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear - Held by talk show hosts Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert to oppose radical political trends in American politics. A crowd estimate commissioned by CBS News by estimated 215,000 people attended, with a margin of error of plus or minus 10 percent. According to Brian Stelter of the New York Times, the National Park Service privately told Viacom there were "well over 200,000" people present.
  • December 16 - Veterans for Peace rally in Lafayette Park and on the White House sidewalk. 131 people arrested for blocking the view of the White House per 36 CFR 7.96 (g)(5)(viii), the "ten yards" rule, upheld in 1984-5271 in the White House Vigil for the ERA v. Clark, as a time-place-manner exception to the First Amendment, to achieve a fundamental purpose of the Park Service specified in USC16 article 1.


  • October 16 - The Right2Know March for Genetically Engineered Foods (GMO) to be labeled in the United States. The march left New York City on October 1 and arrived after marching 313 miles to the White House. More than 1000 people participated in the march.
  • October 15 - Jobs and Justice march to protest poverty, homelessness and high unemployment.
  • November 9–23 Occupy Wall Street protesters march from New York City to Washington DC, to demonstrate at a congressional committee meeting to decide whether to keep President Barack Obama's extension of tax cuts enacted under former President George W. Bush. Protesters say the cuts benefit only rich Americans.


  • January 11 - Close Guantanamo - 271 people in jumpsuits marched from the White House to the Supreme Court, along with 750 others not in jumpsuits.
  • February 20 - Veterans Support Ron Paul, March on the White House - Approximately 320 - 558 Veterans and active duty Veterans Marched, with a double duce truck vehicle carrying Disabled Veterans including, one of the last WW2, battle of the bulge Veterans, with another 1500 not formally in the march supporting behind the march. Upon arriving at the White House, the veterans and active military service members turned their backs to symbolically signify that they didn’t condone all these unconstitutional wars. There was an eight-minute hand salute for every active duty military member who had committed suicide under Obama (one second for each life taken: approximately 480). These numbers are higher than they have ever been, especially when you include veterans. There were also 21 minutes of silence observed for those fallen in battle (one second for each life lost: approximately 1,260). There was a rally for 2 hours before the march at the Washington Memorial and a 6-hour after party at the rock n roll hotel.
  • March 24 - Reason Rally - The Reason Rally was a rally for secularism and religious skepticism held on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on March 24, 2012. Approximately 20,000 people in attendance. [1][2] The rally was sponsored by major atheistic and secular organizations of the United States and was regarded as a "Woodstock for atheists and skeptics". Future events include "Reason Rally 2016", scheduled for June 2, 2016 at the Lincoln Memorial.
  • July 28 - Stop the Frack Attack Rally - 5,000 people marched calling for an end of dangerous and dirty drilling using the process of fracking. The march led to the formation of the Stop the Frack Attack Network.
  • November 3 - Million Puppet March - Approximately 1,500 people and puppets marched in support of continued funding for public broadcasting. The march was later recognized as the largest puppet march by RecordSetter.
  • November 17 - Move:DC - Approximately 10,000 people marched around the White House to call for an end to the LRA in Central Africa, with the march concluding at the Washington Monument. The march and rally were organized by Invisible Children as a part of the Kony 2012 campaign.



  • December 13 - Justice for All - Thousands march to call attention to the recent deaths of unarmed African American men at the hands of police.


  • April - Democracy Spring - March to Washington, D.C. and sit-ins for progressive reforms.
  • May - (Break Free) March from Lafayette Park to Lincoln Memorial protesting for divestment from fossil fuel and stopping offshore drilling

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