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Women's March: Millions Demonstrate in Over 600 Rallies in 20 Countries Around the World

Demonstrators gather near City Hall in downtown Los Angeles. (Emma Niles / Truthdig)

1:26 AM PST 1/22/2017: The attendance numbers at Women’s Marches across the globe are in, with the Los Angeles march outnumbering even the Washington, D.C., march by a quarter of a million people. Here are some figures from U.S. Uncut:

Millions of people have blown expected attendance numbers for the anti-Trump Women’s March out of the water. Tallies are still being finalized, but here are some official estimates, per city, of some of the largest demonstrations around the world.

Washington D.C.: Estimated attendance for the central march is at 500,000.

Los Angeles: Organizers expected 80,000 people to attend. 750,000 people showed up, outnumbering even the flagship march in Washington D.C.

New York City: Estimated attendance: 250,000

Chicago: Estimates for attendance range from 150,000-250,000. Organizers had originally expected 50,000, and had to hold a stationary rally because they could not fit the crowds through their planned route.

Denver: Estimated attendance: 100,000-150,000

Seattle: Estimated attendance: 130,000

Boston: Estimated attendance: 135,000-150,000

London: Estimated attendance: 100,000

Toronto, Canada: Estimated attendance: Between 50,000 and 60,000

Sydney, Australia: Estimated attendance: 10,000

12:30 AM PST 1/22/2017:

Truthdig Assistant Editor Natasha Hakimi Zapata attended the Women’s March in London on Saturday. Here’s footage from Trafalgar Square, where 100,000 people joined to protest the new U.S. president and to demand the protection of women’s rights in the U.K., the U.S. and beyond.

6:31 PM PST 1/21/2017: Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer, who attended the Women’s March in Los Angeles, stated:

This was one of the most phenomenal gatherings I’ve ever seen. I love the fact that it wasn’t overly organized—there were no professional signs—and everyone’s homemade signs were funny, telling and poignant.

People are deeply, deeply concerned about what’s happening to this country.

For once, when people evoke images of Hitler, there’s bite to it. It’s not just rhetoric. The demeaning of women, minorities and immigrants is destructive to civilized values, and today’s march really transcended political differences.

I’ve tried to be fair about Trump, maybe to a fault. I went to this demonstration to learn. I observed it from beginning to end, and it was an educational experience. I was reminded of how vulnerable people feel, how much is at stake and how abrasive our president is.

People today spoke from their life experience. I realized that I have been underestimating just how menacing a figure Trump is to ordinary people. It’s inherently unfair that our political system is so corrupt, so chaotic, that it could throw this person up to be president.

So to have this large, incredible number in L.A., a city where people often have other things to do, was incredibly moving.

I saw no weakness in that crowd. People transcended their fear and became active. They’re ready for a fight.

Kay Gallin, who also attended the Los Angeles march, said:

It was an interesting and touching demonstration. My favorite chant of the day was when the women would yell, “My body, my choice!” and men in the crowd would respond, “Her body, her choice!” That really gave me chills, it was very powerful.

5:16 PM PST 1/21/2017:

Feminist icon Gloria Steinem was one of many prominent speakers at today’s march in Washington, D.C. Watch video of her speech below:

4:14 PM PST 1/21/2017:

Emma Niles, a staff writer for Truthdig, was on the ground during the demonstrations in Los Angeles. She wrote:

Hundreds of thousands arrived in Pershing Square with the intention of marching to City Hall.

However, the crowds spilled over into the streets around Pershing Square, and only some of the people were able to march slowly toward City Hall.

“The crowd was crazy,” Madeline Wilson, 24, told me in the early afternoon as the fervor of the demonstrations began to drop. “We got totally diverted the wrong way and didn’t even end up at City Hall.”

The crowd was filled with thousands of women and men, many holding signs and wearing knitted pink “pussy hats.” I met teachers, union workers and even troops of Girl Scouts.

Speaking of children, the peaceful and positive atmosphere of the march likely worked well for the families present. I can’t count how many children I saw—in strollers, on parents’ shoulders—holding signs and chanting along with the crowd.

Unlike the fairly small instances of violence on the streets of Washington, D.C. on Inauguration Day, the mass demonstrations in Los Angeles were peaceful, organized and supportive. Chants and signs covered more than just women’s issues: Black Lives Matter, the LGBTQ movement, immigrants’ rights and more all were championed by demonstrators.

“I was marching to support every marginalized group that is directly threatened by the Trump administration,” Wilson told me. “Somehow demanding basic respect, decency and autonomy has gone off the table, and that is not acceptable.”

Demonstrators focused beyond vague declarations—many spoke about the incoming Trump administration and the future of the progressive movement. At one point, I was given a hot-pink slip of paper covered with the numbers of local and state officials.

“Are you from a particular organization?” I asked the women who were handing out the sheets.

“Nope,” one replied, “just people trying to be helpful.”

During the march, a loud booing began to ripple throughout the thousands of demonstrators. A small airplane dragging a banner reading “CONGRATULATIONS PRESIDENT TRUMP” was flying above Los Angeles.

And while the crowd certainly was dismayed, this imagery perhaps reflects what many see as the fundamental clash between the Trump administration and average Americans: Hundreds of thousands made the effort to march through downtown Los Angeles to share a message of equality, and yet one person was able to overwhelm demonstrators with a message through this expensive, yet easy, method.

However, the airplane’s quick trip did little to deter the enthusiasm of the marchers. Acts of music, theater and performance art broke out around the city, and families picnicked on the grass while waiting to hear speakers at City Hall.

An exchange overheard by demonstrator Louis Chavez at the beginning of the day, before the march even began, sums up the determined yet positive attitude of the women who showed up to demonstrate. As he was walking to Pershing Square, Chavez passed a mother and her young daughter, also en route to the march’s starting point.

“Mommy, don’t you have work today?” the young girl asked.

“No, honey,” the mother responded. “This is my work today.”

Truthdig blogger Donald Kaufman was also on scene in Washington, D.C. to speak with columnist Chris Hedges:

4:09 PM PST 1/21/2017: Specific numbers are not yet available for the crowd in Los Angeles, but officials estimate anywhere from 100,000 to 750,000 people took to the streets during L.A.’s Women’s March.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators also turned up in New York City, Chicago and Seattle.

3:50 PM PST 1/21/2017: Christopher Geldart, District of Columbia’s homeland security director, told The Associated Press that the Women’s March on Washington yielded no arrests by police.

3:45 PM PST 1/21/2017: Pam Foyster, a 58-year-old resident of Ridgway, Colo., told Reuters that the atmosphere on Saturday reminded her of the 1960s protests against the Vietnam War.

“I’m 58 years old and I can’t believe we are having to do this again,” Foyster said in Washington, D.C. Following the Vietnam War, the push for women’s rights and civil rights made her “believe anything was possible. But here we are again.”

The capital city’s subway system was overwhelmed. Reuters reported:

The Washington march stressed the city’s Metro subway system, with riders reporting enormous crowds and some end-of-line stations temporarily turning away riders when parking lots filled and platforms became too crowded.

The Metro reported 275,000 rides as of 11 a.m. Saturday, 82,000 more than the 193,000 reported at the same time on Friday, the day of Trump’s inauguration and eight times normal Saturday volume.

By afternoon, the protest rally had been peaceful, a sharp contrast to the day before when black-clad anti-establishment activists smashed windows, set vehicles on fire and fought with riot police who responded with stun grenades.

***

Hundreds of thousands of people turned out at marches across the country on Saturday in opposition to President Donald Trump.

Attendance at the Women’s March in Washington, D.C., alone breached 500,000 people, and “sister marches” occurred in cities from coast to coast.

According to the Women’s March on Washington website, the goal of the movement is to allow women to express “solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families—recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country. …

“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,” the website states.

Many marches featured a diverse platform of speakers. In Washington, the schedule included women such as Angela Davis, distinguished professor emerita at UC Santa Cruz; Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood; writer and activist Gloria Steinem; author and transgender rights activist Janet Mock, and Melissa Harris-Perry, founding director of the Anna Julia Cooper Center, which advances justice through intersectional scholarship.

Truthdig contributors were on the ground in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and Portland, Ore.

Check out the following multimedia coverage using the Evrybit app, and tune into this live blog for additional updates.
—Posted by Emma Niles

Editor’s note: Multimedia coverage using the Evrybit app can be found at the bottom of the page. Truthdig reporters and contributors were at marches in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Chicago, Portland, Ore., St. Paul, Minn., and London, England.2:26 AM PST 1/22/2017:

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