Almost 3 million people turned out on Saturday for Women’s March protests across the world, protesting what they saw as likely encroachments upon their rights by the new administration of President Donald Trump.
The flagship demonstration took place in Washington, D.C., where an estimated 500,000 people turned out. The number more than doubled the estimated 200,000 that had been expected to show up. It also far eclipsed the number that turned out for Trump’s inauguration, which appeared to garner several hundred thousand people.
A comparably-sized demonstration occurred in New York City, in which over 400,000 protestors marched through Midtown Manhattan and many demonstrated outside Trump Tower, the longtime residence of the newly-minted chief executive.
In Chicago, the turnout was so massive that organizers abandoned a plan to parade through the streets after marching proved impossible. A rally was thrown instead, with varying accounts measuring the turnout at between 125,000 and 200,000.
In all, an estimated 2.6 million people participated in 673 demonstrations in all 50 states and various countries around the world, with rallies taking place in Berlin, Paris, Nairobi, Cape Town, London, and Mexico City, among many others.
Optimism and hope were apparent in many of those who demonstrated. San Mateo, California, resident Kristin Phillip attended a march, saying that she had never experienced anything quite like it.
I’m 44 and I’ve never done anything like this but I feel compelled to be here… It makes me feel that we can get through this, if we love each other and don’t let them divide us.
The rallies also attracted a considerable number of celebrities, with Madonna, Helen Mirren, women’s rights activist Gloria Steinem, and “Sex and the City” star Cynthia Nixon all making appearances.
The rallies – which were spawned by a post-election Facebook post from a grandmother in Hawaii – were co-sponsored by Amnesty International USA.
Marching for progress
It is unclear if the demonstrations across the world will translate into political action or whether they were simply a cathartic moment for protestors registering grievances with the new administration.
Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) predicted that the demonstrations could result in an activist movement taking root.
People are showing up at any kind of activist meeting because they want to do something and they don’t know what to do.
Some demonstrators said that they were planning to become more politically active in the aftermath of the election. Heather Wagner, a protestor from Texas, said that the outcome of the election served as a wake-up call for an increased level of activism on her part.
Every step I take is in honor of every time I should have spoken up… I didn’t know how much I needed to until now.