Agitator causes seconds of chaos, fear at National Mall rally

“Do not run!” shouted a spokesman to the crowd as a man appeared to be arrested after shouting for the Uvalde school shooting in a moment of silence.

WASHINGTON — A brief incident that occurred Saturday during the March for Our Lives rally on the National Mall sent protesters scurrying but appeared to be quickly resolved despite the momentary panic.

In a startling moment that broke the silence over the recent Uvalde, Texas, elementary school shooting, a man near the stage was heard shouting “I’m the gun” to the crowd while simultaneously pointing an unidentified object threw. Many people ran away from the stage during the few seconds of chaos and some fell to the ground.

The man has since been identified as a pro-gun demonstrator by park police, who also said no guns were found. The man was escorted away from the rally after his interruption and arrested. Park police said no threat to the public was identified.

The spokeswoman at the moment of the disruption, Erica Ford — a co-architect with New York’s crisis management system — called out to the crowd from the stage, trying to help people remain calm and urging them to stop talking to the apparent agitator give attention.

“No running! Please don’t run. There’s no problem here,” she called into the microphone.

The incident seemed to underscore the fear, frustration, anger and trauma that brought the public to the event at the outset and that the speakers emphasized in their speeches.

RELATED: “There will be more risk, more disruption” | Parkland father says today’s March for Our Lives is meant to make lawmakers uncomfortable

Saturday’s gun reform rally on the National Mall turned out thousands of protesters, survivors and activists. It was originally announced just days after the Ulvade shooting, which left 19 children and two teachers dead, when an 18-year-old gunman opened fire with an AR-15-style rifle at Robb Primary School. Days earlier, a white 18-year-old man in military gear and live-streaming with a helmet camera opened fire with a rifle at a Buffalo convenience store, killing 10 people and injuring three others.

Saturday’s rally was the second March for Our Lives event to be held in DC following a large gathering in 2018 following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. According to the 2022 event permit, activities related to the march were scheduled from 9am to 4pm

Organizers estimated that at least 50,000 people would attend the DC event, according to the National Park Service permit.

“Together we rose 4 years ago. 1 million of us demanded change. We built a movement. We voted for new leaders. “Now is the moment when we march again.”

RELATED: Saturday March For Our Lives: Demonstration planned in DC expected to draw tens of thousands

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