Gerson Quinteros, a "dreamer" from El Salvador, who lives in the district, is leading protesters from the White House on Lafayette Square. (1
9659002) Ellen Sullivan, 63, took a drag on her cigarette and crushed it under her heel as she sat on a park bench in Lafayette Square Saturday morning. On her white shirt was "Crazy as hell," and she was holding a handmade sign saying "For the Least Among Us."
"It was a turning point," said Sullivan, a professor who divides her time between McLean and Va. and Miami. "It has been two frustrating years – but now there are concentration camps for babies in our country and that is terrifying."
Sullivan was among hundreds gathered before the "Families Belong Together" protests for an end to President Trump's "zero-tolerance" dissemination policy that separates children from their parents and entire families across the southern US border imprisoned.
The organizers are expecting about 50,000 attendees at the DC event, which will be held at 11am on Lafayette Square in front of the White House and on the surrounding streets. About  750 similar protests were planned across the country in every state, from cities such as New York and Los Angeles to tiny ones like Antler, ND, Population 28.
The rally will suspend a week long demonstrations in Washington, which included a Wednesday march to US Immigration and Customs Headquarters and the arrest of 575 people Thursday in the Hart Office Building during a women-led sit-in. Both protests demanded the dissolution of ICE and the return of children to their families and the end of Trump's immigration policy.
The Saturday march would take a slightly different direction, organizers said.
"We have three main demands," said Anna Galland, executive director of MoveOn.org, which co-funded the event. "Now unite families, end internment camps, and end the zero-humanitarian policy that created this humanitarian crisis and chaos in the first place."
Several speakers, including Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of the musical "Hamilton," And actors America Ferrera and Diane Guerrero will enter the stage at Lafayette Square to begin the protest, which began at 11am. People who have gone through the Holocaust, Japanese internment camps and Trump's family separation policy are likely to speak.  At 9:30 am, one and a half hours before the rally began, protesters began to gather at Lafayette Square opposite the White House.
The organizers of Saturday's rally encouraged participants to wear white clothes to take a show of unity and public transport because of the expected crowd and a lack of parking. The overflow room will be closed off along 16th Street NW and Farragut Square, where organizers will set up large screens.
Florencia Fuensalida and John Van Zandt, both of whom have been working with immigrants for years, admitted that they did not tell them, 3-year-old son Bastian, why they are marching today, but they practiced singing with him: we respect everyone , We love our friends.
When the family got on a bus, the boy seemed to have friends everywhere.
A girl with a sign reading, "I respect children, I'm 4," smiled Bastian, wearing a bright red T-shirt reading "Our dreams are not illegal." A woman from Athens, Ga., With a bag of 50 posters, gave his family three to hold. Another pair of women gave them "Return the Children" bracelets, one in Bastian's size and one for his mother.
"Immigrants come here to survive," Fuensalida said. "Then they come here and they are torn from their families by the only thing they have."
Although the rally begins on the other side of the White House, President Trump will not be there. He spends the weekend at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
Julie Zauzmer contributed to this report.