Over 1 million join women's marches worldwide
Women send strong message to President Donald Trump
WASHINGTON – In a global exclamation of defiance and solidarity, more than 1 million people rallied at women's marches in the nation's capital and cities around the world Saturday to send President Donald Trump an emphatic message on his first full day in office that they won't let his agenda go unchallenged.
"Welcome to your first day, we will not go away!" marchers in Washington chanted.
Many of the women came wearing pink, pointy-eared "pussyhats" to mock the new president. Plenty of men joined in, too, contributing to surprising numbers everywhere from Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and Los Angeles to Mexico City, Paris, Berlin, London, Prague and Sydney.
The Washington rally alone attracted over 500,000 people according to city officials — apparently more than Trump's inauguration drew on Friday. It was easily one of the biggest demonstrations in the city's history, and as night fell, not a single arrest was reported.
The international outpouring served to underscore the degree to which Trump has unsettled people in both hemispheres.
"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."
Turnout in the capital was so heavy that the designated march route alongside the National Mall was impassable. Protesters were told to make their way to the Ellipse near the White House by way of other streets, triggering a chaotic scene that snarled downtown Washington. Long after the program had ended, groups of demonstrators were still marching and chanting in different parts of the city.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer had no comment on the march except to note that there were no firm numbers for turnout because the National Park Service no longer provides crowd estimates.
Around the world, women brandished signs with slogans such as "Women won't back down" and "Less fear more love." They decried Trump's stand on such issues as abortion, health care, diversity and climate change. And they branded him a sexist, a bully, a bigot and more.
"We want a leader, not a creepy tweeter," some marchers chanted in Washington. Others: "Welcome to your first day, we will not go away!"
In Chicago, organizers canceled the march portion of their event for safety reasons because of an overflow crowd that reached an estimated 250,000. People made their way through the streets on their own anyway. In New York, well over 100,000 marched past Trump's home at glittering Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue. More than 100,000 also gathered on Boston Common, and a similar number demonstrated in Los Angeles.
In Miami, real estate agent Regina Vasquez, 51, brought a sign saying "Repeal and Replace Trump."
"I believe that strength is in the numbers, and that we should all come out and not make Trump the new normal," she said.
All told, more than 600 "sister marches" were planned worldwide. Crowd estimates from police and organizers around the globe added up to more than a million.
"I feel very optimistic even though it's a miserable moment," said Madeline Schwartzman of New York City, who brought her twin 13-year-old daughters to the Washington rally. "I feel power."
Retired teacher Linda Lastella, 69, who came to Washington from Metuchen, New Jersey, said she had never marched before but felt the need to speak out when "many nations are experiencing this same kind of pullback and hateful, hateful attitudes."
"It just seemed like we needed to make a very firm stand of where we were," she said.
As the demonstrators rallied alongside the National Mall, Trump opened his first full day as president by attending a prayer service at the Washington National Cathedral, a tradition for the day after inauguration, and later visited the CIA. As he traveled around town, his motorcade passed large groups of protesters that would have been hard to miss.
The Women's March on Washington appeared to accomplish the historic feat of drawing more people to protest the inauguration than the ceremony itself attracted.
It far surpassed the 60,000 people who protested the Vietnam War at Richard Nixon's inauguration in 1973. Before Saturday, that was thought to be the largest such demonstration in inaugural history.
Christopher Geldart, Washington's homeland security director, said the crowd exceeded the 500,000 that organizers told city officials to expect. The largest-ever demonstration in Washington, according to National Park Service crowd estimates, was an anti-Vietnam protest in 1969 that drew 600,000.
The Million Man March in 1995 drew 400,000, according to the park service, which no longer estimates crowd sizes, in part because the organizers of that event accused the agency of lowballing the number and threatened to sue.
The Washington rally was a peaceful counterpoint to the window-smashing unrest that unfolded on Friday when self-described anarchists tried to disrupt the inauguration. Police used pepper spray and stun grenades against the demonstrators. More than 200 people were arrested.
Marlita Gogan, who came to Washington from Houston for the inauguration, said police advised her family not to wear their "Make America Great Again Hats" as they walked through crowds of protesters while playing tourist on Saturday.
"I think it's very oppressive," she said of the march atmosphere. "They can have their day, but I don't get it."
Hillary Clinton, who lost to Trump, took to Twitter to thank the participants for "standing, speaking and marching for our values."
The marches displayed a level of enthusiasm that Clinton herself was largely unable to generate during her campaign against Trump, when she won the popular vote but he outdistanced her in the electoral vote.
The hand-knit "pussyhats" worn by many women served as a message of female empowerment, inspired by Trump's crude boast about grabbing women's genitals.
They "ain't for grabbing," actress Ashley Judd told the Washington crowd.
The marches were a magnet for A-list celebrities, unlike Trump's inauguration, which had a deficit of top performers.
Alicia Keys sang "Girl on Fire" for the Washington crowd. Madonna gave a fiery, profanity-laced address to the gathering. Cher, also in the nation's capital, said Trump's ascendance has people "more frightened maybe than they're ever been."
In Park City, Utah, it was Charlize Theron leading demonstrators in a chant of "Love, not hate, makes America great." Actresses Helen Mirren and Cynthia Nixon and Whoopi Goldberg joined the crowd of protesters in New York.
Tens of thousands of protesters squeezed into London's Trafalgar Square. In Paris, thousands rallied in the Eiffel Tower neighborhood in a joyful atmosphere, singing and carrying posters reading "We have our eyes on you Mr. Trump" and "With our sisters in Washington." Hundreds gathered in Prague's Wenceslas Square in freezing weather, mockingly waving portraits of Trump and Russia's Vladimir Putin.
In Sydney, thousands of Australians gathered in solidarity in Hyde Park. One organizer said hatred, bigotry and racism are not only America's problems.
Here's a closer look at some of those marches around the world:
Nazik Hasan was among the tens of thousands of demonstrators who filled downtown streets, waving posters and gay-pride flags and chanting in English and Spanish.
The 29-year-old attorney carried a sign that read, "Immigrants and refugees are America."
Hasan's family is originally from Palestine and came, she said, in pursuit of the American dream. One generation later, Hasan and her siblings are all college graduates.
Since the election, though, she said she has felt shocked and fearful and particularly worries about her mother, who wears a headscarf.
"If immigrants' rights are violated and women's rights are violated, I'll be directly affected," she said. "Our fulfillment of the American dream doesn't take away from anyone else's."
Scores of protesters spilled into the streets after organizers canceled the city's march for safety reasons because of a larger-than-expected turnout. The overflow crowd reached an estimated 150,000.
People flooded nearby streets, chanting and waving signs protesting Trump, after a rally concluded at Grant Park.
Demonstrator Dorothy DeCarlo, 69, burned her bra for women's rights in college 50 years ago and said it was shameful Saturday's marches and rallies were even necessary.
"I thought we took the bruises. I thought it was over," she said.
After a presidential campaign that focused on women's bodies, Katie Kastner made a sign that drew attention to hers: A circle cut through it focused eyes on her pregnant belly.
The 34-year-old said she drove two hours to Oklahoma City to set an example for her unborn son. She hopes one day the boy will see photos of her at the march and know she stood up to bullies she believes Trump has brought out of the shadows.
"It's easy for people to sit and complain at their homes, behind a computer, but I just thought I didn't want to do that," said Kastner, of Cordell, Oklahoma.
She joined hundreds of others gathered at the state Capitol, in the shadow of working oil wells and statues honoring Oklahoma's cowboy and Native American cultures.
Samantha Moyo looked out at the tens of thousands of marchers sardined into Trafalgar Square with a look of contentment.
The 30-year-old Londoner, originally from Zimbabwe, was overwhelmed by the size of the crowd, and its determination to challenge Trump's world view.
"I'm a black, immigrant bisexual woman, and the fact that women all over the world are standing up for what they believe in, and that I was invited to be on the front line, feels like a huge privilege," she said after helping to lead a march that snaked through central London, stopping traffic at times.
Moyo said she was initially worried about Trump's policies but has come to believe he will inspire resistance.
Police described the event as peaceful with no arrests.
A crowd in Atlanta huddled under a blanket of umbrellas amid intermittent downpours. Among them was Diane Lent, 66, an educator from rural Habersham County who drove 90 miles to attend the rally.
"I'm a woman, I'm a mother, I'm a grandmother — and I believe in justice, and I think we need to stand up for what we believe in," she said.
Lent said she's concerned about how education will fare under a Trump administration, and she's worried about his cabinet appointees.
During the campaign, she was stunned at the ways he referred to women.
"I was horrified, just horrified that we've come to that point in time again," Lent said.
Demonstrators crammed the streets outside Trump's Manhattan home, saying the new leader might be from there, but he's no New Yorker.
"New York is a community in itself, and people care about each other, and it's diverse," said Ashia Badi, 44, who brought her two daughters to the march. "He doesn't feel like he has those New York values I see."
Trump was born and raised in New York City, but the majority of the city and state voted for Hillary Clinton.
Tens of thousands of protesters carrying signs that read: "Women's rights are human rights" and "A woman's place is in the resistance" funneled past Trump Tower to thunderous cheers on tony Fifth Avenue, where he conducted nearly all of his postelection business. It's also where first lady Melania Trump and the couple's young son, Barron, will live.
Brooklyn resident Zakiyyah Woods, 32, said Trump doesn't understand how the city's working men and women struggle.
"He definitely represents that one percent of New Yorkers who built this city for themselves," she said.
TRENTON, NEW JERSEY
Sarah Gospodar likened the chilly, damp rally at Trenton's War Memorial to the civil rights marches of the 1960s, when people came together peacefully to effect change.
"As a middle-aged black woman, I've seen a lot in my life — things that divided this country and things that united it," she said.
"These issues we address today are things that should unite us. How can anyone be against equal pay and fair and equal rights for all Americans?"
Gospodar, 53, acknowledged she's no Trump fan but said she will give him the chance to "show he really does want to make America great."
Amanda Guzman said Saturday's march in Seattle gave her hope as her two young sons and husband joined thousands in
"What I'm seeing here is overwhelming, the solidarity and love," she said, pushing her 18-month-old in a stroller.
She said it's so easy to listen to Trump and see the only bad, but the throngs of protesters gave her hope. "It's all reassuring that there's still good, and we will fight this."
Fathia Absie, a Muslim-American writer and filmmaker who lives in Seattle, said she marched to support women's rights and all rights. As a woman who wears a hijab, she said she is more afraid now than after Sept. 11.
"We have to come together," she said. "What makes this country beautiful and unique, unlike anywhere else in the world, is that we're so diverse. Our differences make us beautiful."
City officials declined to provide estimates but said the march grew into one contiguous mass of people filling an entire 3.6-mile route.
PARK CITY, UTAH
Actress Charlize Theron and other celebrities led demonstrators in a chant of "Love, not hate, makes America great" through the snowy streets during the annual Sundance Film Festival.
The march was about unity and bringing people together, Theron told The Associated Press.
"None of us are here today to divide anyone. We're already divided enough," she said. "I think we are really here today to celebrate coming together and working together and hearing each other and being able to move forward instead of moving backward. That's all we want."
Comedian Chelsea Handler agreed.
"After that terrible day yesterday, we are going to unite," she said.
Several hundred demonstrators shut down four lanes of traffic on a central boulevard outside the U.S. embassy in Mexico City. They held up signs such as "Nasty women keep fighting" and "Girls just wanna have fundamental rights."
The Mexican capital is home to a sizable population of U.S. citizens, and many in the crowd were Americans.
Laura Moodey, a 40-year-old nonprofit worker originally from Phoenix, said she was disappointed by Trump's inaugural speech.
"I was hoping for something different. I was hoping to hear the change in tone that we normally hear after a long, bitter campaign," she said.
Moodey brought her 3-year-old son, Joaquin Torres, to the march. He held a sign that read, in Spanish, "This is my world. I believe in science and respect."
The Associated Press reporters Nancy Benac, Ben Nuckols, Alanna Durkin Richer, Tami Abdollah, Juliet Linderman, Brian Witte, Matthew Barakat, David Dishneau, Ian Mader in Miami: Phuong Le in Seattle; Dan Sewell in Cincinnati; Jeffrey Collins in Columbia, S.C.; Sylvie Corbet in Paris; Peter Orsi in Mexico City; Esther Htusan in Yangon, Myanmar; Adam Kealoha Causey in Oklahoma City; Don Schanche in Atlanta; Bruce Shipkowski in Trenton, N.J.; Lisa Rathke in Montpelier, Vermont; Ryan Pearson in Park City, Utah; Rachelle Blidner and Colleen Long in New York; and Christine Armario in Los Angeles; Don Schanche in Atlanta; Jim Suhr in Kansas City; Jeff Baenen in St. Paul, Minn.; John Hanna in Topeka, Kan.; Frank Bajak in Houston contributed to this report.
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