The day after Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States, hundreds of thousands of people marched in protest. What started as a Women’s March in Washington, spread to different corners of the world; with people coming out to protest in solidarity (and against Donald Trump) in several cities around the globe, including Paris, Sydney, London, and even different parts of India.
Worldwide, more than 670 “sister” marches took place. According to the organizers, more than two million people participated in USA alone. Unlike President Trump’s inauguration, the marches attracted a host of celebrities including Madonna, America Ferrera, Gloria Steinberg and Sir Ian McKellen. who came out to show their support. Social media platforms exploded, with some even live streaming the marches from on ground. The Women’s March on Saturday brought together the citizens of USA and the world like never before; regardless of age, religion, race, or creed.
While exact counts were impossible due to the large numbers of people that had come out onto the streets, estimates show mind-boggling numbers.
LAPD spokesman Andrew Neiman said that while his department was still working on a crowd estimate, he told AFP that the Women’s March was certainly larger than a pro-immigration march that drew 500,000 in 2006. The Los Angeles March organizers claimed that the turnout equaled 750,000 people.
March organizers in New York claimed that half a million people showed up on the streets to protest, tweeting: “This is what democracy looks like! Over 500k people are here at @womensmarch!”
The Chicago Tribune reported a figure of 150,000 people; although the number was not confirmed by the Chicago police.
According to the Austin police department, more than 50,000 people protested in the state capital.
“Welcome to your first day, we will not go away!” marchers in Washington chanted on the streets.
Many women wore bright pink, pointed “pussy hats“, to mock the new president and his support for anti-women policies. The hand-made hats served as a symbol of female empowerment, inspired by Trump’s crude boast about grabbing women’s genitals.
‘The president is not America. His cabinet is not America. Congress is not America. We are America. And were are here to stay.’ pic.twitter.com/pKpFhpw8mJ
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) January 22, 2017
“We march today for the moral core of this nation, against which our new president is waging a war,” actress America Ferrera told the Washington crowd. “Our dignity, our character, our rights have all been under attack, and a platform of hate and division assumed power yesterday. But the president is not America. … We are America, and we are here to stay.” The turnout in the Washington march was so heavy, that the original march route alongside the National Mall was impassable, and protesters were told to make their way to the Ellipse near the White House by way of other streets, causing a chaotic scene that choked downtown Washington. Long after the program had ended, groups of people were still marching and chanting in different parts of the city. Christopher Geldart, Washington’s Homeland Security Director, told AP the crowd far exceeded the 500,000 organizers had initially told city officials to expect. Palestinian American, Linda Sarsour delivered a powerful speech at the Women’s March in Washington.
Palestinian American activist Linda Sarsour’s powerful speech at the Women’s March On Washington. @lsarsour #Womensmarch pic.twitter.com/BYyhklFip1 — Palestine Info Centr (@palinfoen) January 23, 2017
In another part of the March, women celebrated their power to protest by joining together in song.
— Alma Har’el (@Almaharel) January 21, 2017
— Alma Har’el (@Almaharel) January 21, 2017
In different parts of the world, slogans such as “Women won’t back down”, and “Less fear more love” were brandished by women in sister marches. Many decried President Trump’s stand on issues such as abortion, healthcare, diversity, and climate change; branding him a sexist, a bully, a bigot and more.
The Women’s March also provided many with the opportunity to highlight the numerous services to society women have done over the years, mostly gone unnoticed and lost to history. This included writer and critic Maria Popova, who shared an article from 2016 by Brain Pickings, highlighting trailblazing women in science via illustration.
The Women’s March on 21st January 2017 brought together people from all parts of the world, in every corner of the civilized world, each individual taking to the streets to protest the right to healthcare, the right to practice religion without fear, the right to live life without constantly being under the government’s microscope… but most of all, it was an all-out rejection of the stance of President Trump and his administration on several issues, from climate change, to the right to choose whether or not to have an abortion.
Yet, among the countless of voices that added to the diverse and powerful Women’s March on Saturday, Sir Ian McKellen’s note powerfully summarizes the soul of the March in a few short lines.