On Saturday, January 21, 2017, a day after President Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States, hundreds of thousands of protesters in many major cities all around the world marched against his presidency out of fear that it will be a threat to the rights of women, gays, and immigrants.
Still stunned over presidential candidate Hillary Clinton losing the election, despite being close to being elected as the first female president, protesters participated in marches and rallies that drew nearly 5 million protesters in all. One particular march, The Women’s March on Washington, in Washington D.C, was originally estimated to draw over 200,000 participants, but drew over half a million, twice as many as Donald Trump’s inauguration.
An estimated 400,000-600,000 marchers participated in New York City. An estimated 125,000-200,000 marchers participated in Chicago. Because the Chicago protest exceeded expectation so vastly, parades were canceled and exchanged for rallies. One of the largest U.S. gatherings happened in Los Angeles with 750,000 marchers crowding the streets. It was the biggest L.A. demonstration since a 500,000 filled pro-immigration march in 2006.
According to older participants, the mass protest was reminiscent of mass protest from the Civil Rights/Vietnam era during the 1960s and 70s in favor of peace and equality. In this event, the main issues being pushed included, women’s rights, LGBT rights, immigration, race relations, and environmental issues. The marchers feel that these issues will be threatened or ignored by President Trumps regime due to his opposition on abortion and policy positions on illegal immigration.
Many moments at the rallies include the women in “Mothers of the Movement” joined singer Janelle Monae in a chant shouting each of the name of their children who were killed by police. Also, as a way to mock Donald Trump’s 2005 audio tape , where he boast about grabbing women by their genitals, the marchers wore pink, cat-eared “pussy hats”. Feminist icon, Gloria Steinem, spoke at the event and told the women in the group to “Make sure you introduce to each other to decide what we’re going to do tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow.” Actress Scarlett Johansson told a story about her experience going to a Planned Parenthood clinic in NYC and how well the doctors were treating her. She also mentioned that although she did not vote for Trump, she will support him as long as he supports her and her fellow sisters. Other anti-Trump celebrities spoke at the event, such as actresses Ashley Judd & America Ferrera, singer Madonna, and filmmaker Michael Moore urging people to run for office and letting people know that “we” are America.
President Trump took to Twitter the following Sunday and said “Watch protest yesterday but was under the impression that we just had an election! Why didn’t these people just vote?’’ Later that day, he sent a more serious tweet stating “Peaceful protest are a hallmark of our democracy. Even if I don’t always agree, I recognize the rights of people to express their views.”