Wearing pink, pointy-eared hats to mock the new president, hundreds of thousands of women and men took to the streets in the nation’s capital and cities around the world Saturday to send Donald Trump an emphatic message that they won’t let his agenda go unchallenged over the next four years.
Michelle Sanchez Jones, a Hall County resident and former candidate for the Georgia legislature, arrived in Washington by bus early Saturday morning to find an estimated 500,000 protesters sharing “a feeling of camaraderie and solidarity and outrage.”
The Washington rally alone attracted over 500,000 people according to city officials, more than double expectations. According to news reports, the event appeared to have attracted more people than Trump’s inauguration Friday, based on figures from transportation officials.
“It almost feels like too little too late, but at the same time there is a sense of hope,” Jones said.
And it wasn’t just women who turned out on the streets.
“Absolutely every demographic is out here,” Jones said.
Turnout in Washington was so big that the original march route alongside the National Mall was impassable. Instead of trekking en masse to the Ellipse near the White House as planned, protesters were told to head there by way of other streets. And with that, throngs surged in the direction of the White House in a chaotic scene that snarled downtown Washington.
Protesters brandished signs with slogans such as “Women won’t back down” and “Less fear more love” in opposition to Trump’s stands on issues such as abortion, health care, gay rights, diversity and climate change. In a five-hour-plus program, speaker after speaker branded the new president a sexist, a bully, a bigot and more.
Hall County resident Wendy Glasbrenner said she has attended marches in D.C. dating back to the early 1980s, but Saturday’s demonstration was the “topper.”
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” she added.
For Glasbrenner, the decision to attend the march had less to do with politics than personality. She lamented what she believes is Trump’s ill treatment of people and disregard for basic facts.
“I’ve been on the losing side of elections before, but this is nothing like that,” she said. “This is a fundamentally wrong person to be running our country. It is just terrifying. I think that is why there were so many people here. We have to stop this.”
That message reverberated through a remarkable collection of outsized demonstrations around the globe — from Atlanta, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and Los Angeles to Paris, Berlin, London, Prague, Sydney and beyond. It all served to underscore the degree to which Trump’s election has unsettled people in every hemisphere.
More than 600 “sister marches” were planned around the world. Organizers estimated 3 million people would march worldwide.
Jones said she hopes the protests will turn into something tangible and she intends to continue doing her part.
“I just want to be able to help facilitate,” she said.
Glasbrenner said there was a lot of talk about the midterm congressional elections in 2018 and what could be done to limit Trump’s power now boosted by a Republican-controlled Congress.
“This is what democracy looks like,” she said of the march. “We must be vigilant.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.