Hundreds of people in Bluffton and Beaufort turned out on Saturday to join in the March For Our Lives, an event held to protest gun violence in the wake of the massacre of 17 students on Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
The local events were held in tandem with a main march in Washington, D.C., that was organized in part by students from the Florida school. Some 500 other marches were held around the country and the world on Saturday.
In Bluffton, 400-500 people attended, estimated Mitch Siegel, an event organizer with Lowcountry Indivisible.
The event started with a rally in front of H.E. McCracken Middle School. Speakers ranged from H.E. McCracken principal Jerry Henderson, to middle school student Christian Aruja, to Bluffton High School student organizer Ami Hughey, to Rabbi Brad Bloom, of Hilton Head Island's Congregation Beth Yam.
Participants then marched from the school and took a looping route down Buckwalter Parkway, to Bluffton Parkway and back to the H.E. McCracken campus. Marchers waved to passing motorists, many of whom honked their horns in support.
In Beaufort, the march started near Beaufort High School. Protesters walked across the Richard V. Woods Memorial Bridge to the pavilion at Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park.
"It went really well," said organizer Bridget Gallagher, a home-schooled high school student from St. Helena. She estimated that more than 350 people attended the march.
Marchers were greeted with cheering and honking from motorists, she said.
Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling spoke at the rally, as did many students in attendance. The League of Women Voters had a table where people could register to vote.