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Turnout for D.C. student gun protest march is far lower than originally reported

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The estimated Washington, D.C. turnout for the March For Our Lives rally on Saturday, was apparently much lower than what was initially reported. (Image source: YouTube screenshot)

An updated turnout estimate shows that about 200,000 people attended the March For Our Lives demonstration in Washington, D.C., on Saturday. And while that's still a large turnout, the figure is far lower than what organizers initially reported.

What is the new figure based on?

The new estimate came from Digital Design & Imaging Service Inc, a Virginia-based firm that uses aerial photographs and a proprietary method for calculating crowd size, CBS News reported.

The company's estimates show the crowd grew to its largest size — 202,796 people — at 1 p.m. The figure has a 15 percent margin of error, according to the report. In addition to the D.C. rally, about 800 other March For Our Lives events were held throughout the nation Saturday.

Initially, organizers said the total number of attendees in Washington was close to 800,000. That's four-times the figure that Digital Design estimated from its aerial photographs.

The largest single-day demonstration in U.S. history was the Women's March in 2017, which had a turnout of about 440,000 people, according to the same company's estimates. In 1967, nearly 100,000 people gathered to protest the American war in Vietnam. About 250,000 people heard Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech at the March on Washington for Freedom and Jobs in 1963.

Survivors of the Parkland, Florida, massacre organized Saturday's event.

Emma Gonzalez, a leading voice in the movement, held a moment of silence as she spoke from a podium Saturday.

"Since the time that I came out here, it has been 6 minutes and 20 seconds, the shooter has ceased shooting and will soon abandon his rifle and blend in with the students so he can walk free for an hour before arrest," Gonzalez said. "Fight for your lives before it is someone else's job."

What were initial estimates based on?

Initial turnout estimates were based on images from DigitalGlobe, a satellite imaging company. The company wrote on Twitter that an "impressive crowd" turned out in D.C., but it did not include a figure.

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