Government shutdown 2013: Who is allowed on the National Mall?
WASHINGTON (WJLA) - The signs on the National Mall say closed.
Yet in the heart of the National Park, an immigration rally is taking place. The 146-acre facility has been closed since the shutdown began last Tuesday.
But the event went on as scheduled, the permit being issued just three days ago.
“What we're doing today is about petitioning the government,” says Kim Propeak, a rally organizer. “It's clearly protected under the bill of rights. It's clearly a First Amendment activity. The park service always had to facilitate this happening. It’s our Constitutional right.”
After veterans were given access to the WWII Memorial last week, the Park Service determined it had to allow all first amendment activities.
But that offered no relief for the 24 couples who were issued permits to be married on the mall and at the monuments.
Thousands gathered for Tuesday's rally, relieved the event could take place.
“I think it should go on because this country's free,” says demonstrator Alberto Mendoza.
But some people find the decisions on the use of parks and landmarks inconsistent.
“It’s dysfunction at its best,” says one. “They should get their act together and get back to business as usual.”