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Suit Over March Count Threatened

October 18, 1995| Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The "Million Man March" lived up to its name, march leaders insisted Tuesday, threatening a lawsuit and accusing the U.S. Park Service of a racist undercount.

"They falsely said to the world that 400,000 black men came when they well know there were more than a million," said Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam.

"There never was a demonstration or gathering in the city of Washington to equal what happened yesterday," Farrakhan told a news conference. "For what reason would anyone fail to give us credit but racism?"

The park service announced hours after the daylong event that about 400,000 people had attended. That would make it the fourth-largest demonstration ever, about 200,000 short of the anti-Vietnam War march in 1969.

"We don't think we are racist; we think we acted in a professional way," said Maj. Robert Hines, spokesman for the park service, which estimates crowds for major Washington events.

"We know they are unhappy with the count, as have been a lot of other organizations in the past," he said.

The co-chairman of the group's legal committee, Abdul Arif Muhammad, said: "We intend to file suit and seek evidentiary proof that more than 1 million men came to Washington."

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