Madison police prepare for Saturday's March for Our Lives

Published: Mar. 23, 2018 at 10:10 AM CDT
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Students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida are leading the way for Saturday's March for Our Lives event.

Thousands across the nation are expected to march and demand stronger gun control laws.

The march is centered around Washington, D.C., but more than 830 events are happening across the United States.

March for Our Lives-Wisconsin said there will be marches happening in five different cities: Appleton, Green Bay, La Crosse, Milwaukee and Madison.

Madison's march coordinators said the event will begin at 9:30a.m. at the University Wisconsin-Madison's Library Mall. Participants will march down State Street to the Capitol Square.

Madison Police said the Capitol Square will be closed most of the day Saturday. March organizers said the march will end with a series of speakers including teachers, students, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin and State Representative Mark Pocan.

Police said they're expecting more than a thousand people Saturday. The event's Facebook page has roughly 4,000 people showing interest.

Lieutenant Brian Chaney Austin said police have been planning for several weeks, and participants will notice a strong police presence.

"This event on Saturday will involve dozens of officers. You'll see some visibly and some who are behind the scene making sure things are safe for those attending," said Lt. Chaney Austin.

Lt. Chaney Austin said as the state's capitol, the department is prepared for large gatherings, but is constantly planning for the unknown.

"We have specialty trained officers who will be out and about. They're trained to look for suspicious people, packages, and certain types of behaviors that would trigger a police response," said Lt. Chaney Austin.

Saturday's march is expected to cause heavy traffic in downtown Madison. Police say they'll be monitoring streets, hoping to ease congestion, but people should plan for the Capitol Square to be closed between the hours of 9a.m. and 4p.m.