Mon, Jan 20, 2020 - Page 5 News List

Women’s March rallies held across US

SMALLER NUMBERS:Marches were planned in more than 180 cities, with the one in Washington attracting people from across the nation to protest against Donald Trump

AP, WASHINGTON

Demonstrators participate in the Women’s March in Los Angeles, California, on Saturday.

Photo: AP

Thousands gathered in cities across the US on Saturday as part of the nationwide Women’s March rallies focused on issues such as climate change, pay equity, reproductive rights and immigration.

Hundreds showed up in New York City and thousands in Washington, for the rallies, which aim to harness the political power of women, although crowds were smaller than in previous years.

Marches were scheduled in more than 180 cities.

The first marches in 2017 drew hundreds of thousands of people to rallies in cities across the country on the day after US President Donald Trump was inaugurated. That year’s Washington march drew close to 1 million people.

In Manhattan on Saturday, hundreds of people gathered as part of a “Rise and Roar” rally at separate events in Foley Square and Columbus Circle.

“Today, we will be the change that is needed in this world! Today, we rise into our power!” activist Donna Hylton told a cheering crowd in Foley Square.

Snow began falling by the afternoon in Manhattan, apparently putting a damper on plans for the two groups to converge in large numbers near Times Square.

In downtown Los Angeles, thousands of men, women and children filled several blocks as they made their way from a plaza to a park adjacent to City Hall, where a rally featured speeches by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the wife of California Governor Gavin Newsom, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, US Representative Maxine Waters and others.

Jennifer Siebel Newsom credited women for mobilizing against gun violence, creating the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and discrimination, and taking back the Democratic majority in the US House of Representatives.

“In 2020, I have no doubt that it will be women who will lead again, rise up and move this country forward on a path toward justice,” she said.

Several thousand came out for the protest in Washington, far fewer than last year when about 100,000 people held a rally.

However, as in previous years, many of the protesters made the trip to the capital from cities across the country to express their opposition to Trump and his policies.

Three key issues seemed to galvanize most of the protesters: climate change, immigration and reproductive rights.

“I teach a lot of immigrant students, and in political times like this I want to make sure I’m using my voice to speak up for them,” said Rochelle McGurn, 30, an elementary-school teacher from Burlington, Vermont who was Washington to march. “They need to feel like they belong, because they do.”

Peta Madry of New London, Connecticut, was celebrating her 70th birthday by attending her fourth Women’s March in the US capital with her sister, Cynthia Barnard, of San Rafael, California.

Both women were wearing handknitted pink hats that date from the first march.

Organizers of the Washington march faced criticism from some local African American activists for failing to focus on local issues and damaging the ability of local activists to organize.

“Local DC is a domestic colony and the actions of national organizers have to recognize that,” Black Lives Matter DC wrote in a letter last week to Women’s March organizers. “Here in DC, these unstrategic mass mobilizations distract from local organizing, often overlook the black people who actually live here and even result in tougher laws against demonstration being passed locally.”

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