Politics 2017: Women’s March on Washington and Around the World

Associated Press Reports:

Wearing pink, pointy-eared “pussyhats” to mock the new president, hundreds of thousands of women gathered in the nation’s capital and other cities around the globe Saturday for demonstrations aimed at showing Donald Trump they won’t be silent over the next four years.

“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 women brandished signs with messages such as “Women won’t back down” and “Less fear more love” and decried Trump’s stand on issues of abortion, health care, diversity and climate change.

The crowds in the capital could top those that gathered for Trump’s inauguration on Friday.

City officials said organizers of the Women’s March on Washington had more than doubled their turnout estimate to 500,000 as crowds began swelling and subways into the city became clogged with participants.

It wasn’t just a Washington phenomenon and it wasn’t just women: More than 600 “sister marches” were planned across the country and around the world, and plenty of men were part of it.

March organizers said women are “hurting and scared” as the new president takes office and want a greater voice for women in political life.

“In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore,” their mission statement says.

Retired teacher Linda Lastella, 69, who came 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.

Rose Wurm, 64, a retired medical secretary from Bedford, Pennsylvania, boarded a Washington-bound bus in Hagerstown, Maryland, at 7 a.m. carrying two signs: one asking Trump to stop tweeting, and one asking him to fix, not trash, the Obamacare health law.

“There are parts of it that do need change. It’s something new, something unique that’s not going to be perfect right out of the gate,” she said.

Many arrived wearing hand-knit “pussyhats”–a message of female empowerment aimed squarely at Trump’s crude boast about grabbing women’s genitals.

The march attracted significant support from celebrities. Ferrera led the artists’ contingent, and those scheduled to speak in Washington included Scarlett Johansson, Ashley Judd, Melissa Harris-Perry and Michael Moore.

The promised performance lineup included Janelle Monae, Maxwell, Samantha Ronson, the Indigo Girls and Mary Chapin Carpenter. Cher, Katy Perry and Julianne Moore all were expected to attend.

Women and other groups were demonstrating across the nation and as far abroad as Myanmar and Australia. In Prague, hundreds gathered in Wenceslas Square in freezing weather, waving portraits of Trump and Russia’s Vladimir Putin and holding banners that read “This is just the beginning,” ”Kindness” and “Love.”

In Copenhagen, march organizer Lesley-Ann Brown said: “Nationalist, racist and misogynistic trends are growing worldwide and threaten the most marginalized groups in our societies including women, people of color, immigrants, Muslims, the LGBT community and people with disabilities.”

The idea for the women’s march took off after a number of women posted on social media in the hours after Trump’s election about the need to mobilize. Hundreds of groups quickly joined the cause, pushing a wide range of causes, including abortion rights, gun control, climate change and immigrant rights.

While the march organizers’ “mission and vision” statement never mentions Trump and stresses broad themes, including the message that “women’s rights are human rights,” the unifying factor is loathing for the new president and dismay that so much of the country voted for him.

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