Thousands of Cenla residents marched from Pineville on Saturday morning to Alexandria during the second annual Louisiana Life March Central.
The group filled the streets, and as the first participants stepped off the Jackson Street bridge onto Second Street, the final marchers had not yet made it onto the bridge from Pineville.
Coordinators for the march told The Town Talk on Saturday they estimated nearly 4,000 people participated. That’s an increase from about 1,200 participants in 2016, when the event first made its way to Central Louisiana.
“This is a testament that the work being done at the federal and national levels is supported by the very lives it affects,” said Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry. “The support for this is building over time, which is heart-warming.”
The sight of so many marchers making their way across the bridge had one volunteer for the event in tears.
Landry and U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham, were the featured speakers at the event, which included a program of religious prayers, music and speeches at Alexandria’s amphitheater following the march. Both Landry and Abraham spoke on their stance in the pro-life movement, which they support.
Life March Central is the final of three events held in Louisiana each year. The first two marches were held in Baton Rouge and Shreveport a few weeks ago.
The event follows a national pro-life march, which took place recently in Washington, D.C. Nearly 2,000 Louisiana residents traveled to take part in the annual march alongside hundreds of thousands of pro-life supporters from around the nation, according to Louisiana Right to Life.
Abraham was in attendance for the national march, and said the turnout in Alexandria “is a large representation of what I saw during the march in D.C. just a few weeks ago. The people that came out to support this event today are part of a larger movement that we hope will continue.”
The national March for Life has taken place every year since the first anniversary of Roe v. Wade on Jan. 22, 1974. The event has grown over the years according to Louisiana Right to Life, from 50,000 participants in 1976 to more than 650,000 participants by 2013.
Originally Published 3:32 p.m. CT Feb. 4, 2017