ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) President Trump continues to dispute the attendance of his inauguration. And here in Southwest Virginia, there's also a numbers controversy.
There is a dispute over how many people attended this Women's March on Roanoke Saturday. We reported over the weekend that anywhere from 2,500 to 3,000 people attended. That number came straight from the organizers, and after WDBJ7 ran the story many people told us they felt that number was wrong. So we're taking another look.
Saturday's Women's March on Roanoke blew organizers away because they only really expected a few hundred people to show up. Elmwood park holds just under 4,000 people and was packed, although in uneven fashion.
There's no true way to know just how many were there, but many on social media claim it was more than reported in the news. Now that organizers have had a chance to breathe, they're updating their figure that they originally gave us.
"After talking to a number of people, I really think that number is far greater. I would err on the minimum of 3,500 and probably an average of 4,000 honestly," Women's March on Roanoke Co-Organizer Djuna Osborne said. "And what I'm just so proud of about Roanoke is that we turned out and we showed up, and that speaks volumes for who we are and that to me is more important than any specific digit."
The Roanoke march occurred at the same time as the one in Washington and others all across the country. Two researchers online have tallied attendance numbers for all of them, and their numbers show Roanoke's turn out was bigger than a lot of other larger cities.
We reached out to the local universities to see if they had someone that could help us with scientific crowd counting but didn't have any luck. Either way, the organizers were still just blown away with the attendance and they say the march is just the beginning of what's to come.
"I would say 4,000 would be a safe cap honestly, and at the end of the day it's not about any specific number, we had three times the amount of people that we ever expected and I think that that explosion of participation was really reflected worldwide," Osborne said.