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Was Women's March On Chicago Biggest Protest In City History? It's Close

By Kelly Bauer | January 23, 2017 3:04pm | Updated on January 25, 2017 11:42am
 An estimated 250,000 people gathered in Chicago for the Women's March.
Women's March on Chicago
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DOWNTOWN — A crowd of 250,000 people gathered for the Women's March on Chicago this weekend, making it one of the largest protests in city history.

The event, held to show solidarity and to protest newly inaugurated President Donald Trump, grew so large the march itself was canceled and organizers said supporters had flooded the street. It was the third-largest Women's March held across seven continents and hundreds of cities, with only Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles reportedly having more people attend.

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And it was substantially larger than most protests and rallies in the city's history, even ones for major events. At 2012's NATO Summit, police said there were 2,500-3,000 protesters, according to Reuters. The infamous Democratic National Convention of 1968 saw one demonstration with 5,000 people, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The march was not the biggest protest in the city's history, though: That honor goes to a May 1, 2006, demonstration that saw an estimated 400,000 people march against anti-immigration laws. (A similar rally that March drew an estimated 100,000 protesters, according to the Tribune, though organizers said there were at least 250,000 people.)

That means the Women's March on Chicago was either the second- or third-largest protest in the city.

But if you look at all events — like sports rallies or parades — the Women's March doesn't even crack the top 10 for attendance in Chicago history, according to a Tribune analysis. More people attended a parade and rally for the Apollo 11 astronauts (2 million), a speech from Gen. Douglas MacArthur in 1951 (3 million) and even a mass from Pope John Paul II (1 million).

The biggest event in Chicago's history appears to be the 2016 Cubs rally and parade, which the city said was attended by 5 million people.

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