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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Walk for Life draws hundreds to Riverfront Park in downtown Spokane

Jan. 28, 2017 Updated Sat., Jan. 28, 2017 at 2:17 p.m.

Hundreds of people gathered in Riverfront Park Saturday to show their support for the pro-life movement in the annual Walk for Life Northwest.

Evelyn Gannaway, who brought her little Yorkie Bella along, said she came to the march for the first time this year because her sister invited her.

“I have never believed in abortion,” she said. “I gave birth to a daughter when I was 15 because I didn’t believe in it.”

She said she’s hoping that President Donald Trump will change the laws to further restrict or even ban abortions.

“It would at least be a start,” she said of increased restrictions.

Jenny Gondeiro lives in Montana and was in Spokane visiting family members. She said that based on what she saw on Facebook she felt she would be unwelcome at last week’s Women’s March because she is a Christian.

“I want to march for life,” she said. “I thought if that’s the march against it, where’s the march for it?”

Gondeiro said she voted for Trump and she was not alone. Many in the crowd cheered loudly when the guest speaker, the Rev. Walter Hoye, said he had worked closely with the Trump campaign.

“We have a new administration in the White House, and I want to say Amen,” he said as the crowd cheered again. “Let’s continue to pray for our president.”

Last weekend’s Women’s March, which drew 8,000 in Spokane and millions around the world, was also was mentioned by event organizer Charlotte Oliva.

“They were numerous but I think they were confused,” she said before she asked the crowd to pray for them.

Hoye, who is from Oakland, Calif., spoke to the crowd about a woman he met outside an abortion clinic where he was protesting. He said he assured her of God’s love for her and her unborn baby before she went inside. And when she came back outside, crying, he told her that God still loved her.

“I want you to know that God never stops loving you,” Hoye said. “God forgives. The pro-life movement is all about God’s love.”

The rally and subsequent march through downtown Spokane was peaceful, said Spokane Police Sgt. John Gately. He estimated the crowd at between 800 to 1,000 people.

The only discordant note was a separate group of pro-life protestors who climbed a snow berm to display very large, graphic pictures and brought along their own public address system that they used to shout at the crowd.

Oliva said the group had been asked to put away their pictures, but refused. She urged the crowd to ignore them.

“They have their place, but it’s not here today with our families,” she said.

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