More than one million women came together in Washington on Saturday to march to the White House to protect their reproductive rights, immigration and civil rights, a day after Donald Trump’s inaugural function as the 45th president of the country.
The demonstration was part of the Women’s March on Washington campaign that initially started as a Facebook post and then evolved into one of the largest demonstrations in the country’s history as millions of women took to the streets in various cities of the United States and across the world.
“I’m hoping it will be a record in Washington. Especially with the turnout at the inauguration on Friday being, well, not so high,” Evvie Harmon, global coordinator of the marches, told The Guardian. She said the protests had be peaceful even though several activists and speakers gave heated speeches as thousands of women made their way to the White House.
Feminist icon Gloria Steinem spoke about Trump and his election to the top post in the country. “He said he was for the people … I have met the people and you are not them,” she said. “This is the upside of the downside. This is an outpouring of energy and true democracy that I have never seen in my very long life. It is wide in age, it is deep in diversity and remember the constitution does not begin with ‘I the president’ it begins with ‘we the people’.”
Latina activist and actor America Ferrera said it had been a heart-wrenching time to be a woman and an immigrant in this country.”A platform of hate and division assumed power yesterday. But the president is not America...We are America,” she said. “We march today for the moral core of this nation, against which our new president is waging a war.”
Filmmaker Michael Moore asked the participants to call their elected officials every day and to take up issues they they cared about. “You have to run for office. You! Yes you!!!. I can see your face is ‘No, no Mike, not me, I’m shy’,” he said.
Actor Ashley Judd called out Trump for referring to Hillary Clinton as a “nasty woman”. “They ain’t for grabbing. They are for birthing new generations of filthy, vulgar, nasty, proud, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh, you name it, for new generations of nasty women. So if you a nasty woman or you love one who is let me hear you say, hell yeah!” she said to the crowd.
Other noted speakers included actor Scarlett Johansson and singer Janelle Monae, among hundreds of others.
Organisers claimed that Saturday’s turnout was double that of Trump’s inaugural speech. On Friday, at least 230 people were detained as violent protests erupted across the country against Trump’s election to the top post.