Activists are planning Hurricane Maria anniversary rallies in cities along the East Coast for Thursday, September 20, and Saturday, September 22. In New York City, a march-vigil will be held in Midtown Manhattan at 18:00 (local time) on Thursday. Demonstrators will walk from St. Bartholomew's Church to Trump Tower holding votive candles and carrying photographs. The same day, protesters will gather at Lafayette Square (Washington, DC) in front of the White House from 20:00 to 22:00. On Saturday, a vehicle convoy will drive by President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach (Florida) at noon before holding a rally from 15:00 to 19:00 at Meyer Amphitheater in West Palm Beach (Florida). An estimated 1500 people will attend the rally. Heightened security presence and localized transportation disruptions are expected in the vicinity of the events.
The events are in memorial of Hurricane Maria that hit the US in September 2017 and in protest of the government response efforts following the hurricane and Trump's continued commentary on the event. Maria hit Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017, as a Category 4 hurricane. According to initial government reports, 64 people died from the storm; however, a study published in August 2018 estimated an additional 2658 to 3290 people died in the six months following the hurricane above background death rates. This prompted the government to officially adjust the death toll to 2975, making it the deadliest US hurricane since 1900. Critics blame the high death toll on an insufficient relief effort. In September 2018, Trump denied the numbers in a social media post.
Individuals in the abovementioned areas are advised to monitor developments, anticipate a heightened security presence and transportation disruptions, and avoid public gatherings as a precaution.
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