Over a million turn out worldwide as cities big and small see women's marches
Chicago (AP) — Chicago. Paris. Mexico City. Montpelier. Trenton.
Massive crowds marked a day of worldwide rallies in support of women's rights and solidarity Saturday, with cities big and small grinding to a halt with some of largest protests they've seen in years.
Demonstrators swarmed train stations, streets and parks as hundreds of thousands of women, men and children came together to march against sexism, racism and hatred. Many also protested Donald Trump.
The more than 600 "sister marches" around the world were held in conjunction with the Women's March on Washington a day after Trump became president on the United States.
Here's a closer look at some of the events:
Scores of protesters spilled into downtown streets after organizers canceled the city's march for safety reasons because of larger-than-expected turnout. The overflow crowd reached an estimated 150,000.
People flooded nearby streets, chanting and waving signs protesting Trump, after a rally concluded at Grant Park.
Demonstrator Dorothy DeCarlo, 69, burned her bra for women's rights in college 50 years ago and said it was shameful Saturday's marches and rallies were even necessary.
"I thought we took the bruises. I thought it was over," she said.
Kansas and Missouri
Thousands of protesters, mostly women, gathered in Missouri's two biggest cities and Kansas' capital city in disapproval of Donald Trump's inauguration as U.S. president.
Packing a park across from Kansas City's landmark Union Station, the throng Saturday was urged by organizers to be vigilant about the new Trump administration's policies and not let their activism wane.
As a 31-year-old working in HIV prevention, Jonathon Antle said he turned out for that rally in support of women's rights, equality and gay rights. He says Trump "scares me," citing what he calls the president's "unpredictability, and his childishness with Twitter."
Even in Republican-leaning Kansas, which Trump handily carried in the presidential race, at least 2,000 people turned out for a rally at the Statehouse in Topeka.
Thousands also turned out for a Saturday march in St. Louis and in Wichita, Kansas.
Trenton, New Jersey
Sarah Gospodar likened the chilly, damp rally at Trenton's War Memorial to the civil rights marches of the 1960s, when people came together peacefully to effect change.
"As a middle-aged black woman, I've seen a lot in my life — things that divided this country and things that united it," the 53-year-old Ewing woman said.
"These issues we address today are things that should unite us. How can anyone be against equal pay and fair and equal rights for all Americans?"
Gospodar acknowledged she's no Trump fan but said she will give him the chance to "show he really does want to make America great."
Several thousand people, including many Americans living in France, gathered in the Eiffel Tower neighborhood in a joyful atmosphere.
They sang and carried posters with slogans such as "We have our eyes on you Mr. Trump" and "With our sisters in Washington."
"It's important because Trump wants to destroy 50 years of progress," said Anne Tiracchia, from Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, who was on vacation in France where her son lives.
"He wants to go back to smoke coming out of factories and women staying home and having babies," she said. "We have to show we don't agree with him."
More than 40 feminist and anti-racist groups organized the Paris march.
After a presidential campaign that focused on women's bodies, Katie Kastner made a sign that drew attention to hers: A circle cut through it focused eyes on her pregnant belly.
The 34-year-old said she drove two hours to Oklahoma City to set an example for her unborn son. She hopes one day the boy will see photos of her at the march and know she stood up to bullies she believes Trump has brought out of the shadows.
"It's easy for people to sit and complain at their homes, behind a computer, but I just thought I didn't want to do that," said Kastner, of Cordell, Oklahoma.
She joined over 5,000 gathered at the state Capitol, in the shadow of working oil wells and statues honoring Oklahoma's cowboy and Native American cultures.
Other demonstrators called for indigenous women to rise up and for men not to feel threatened by female equality. One group who billed themselves as "mama bears" offered free hugs from women who love LGBTQ kids.
Samantha Moyo looked out at the tens of thousands of marchers sardined into Trafalgar Square with a look of contentment.
The 30-year-old Londoner, originally from Zimbabwe, was overwhelmed by the size of the crowd, and its determination to challenge Trump's world view.
"I'm a black, immigrant bisexual woman, and the fact that women all over the world are standing up for what they believe in, and that I was invited to be on the front line, feels like a huge privilege," she said after helping to lead a march that snaked through central London, stopping traffic at times.
Moyo said she was initially worried about Trump's policies but has come to believe he will inspire resistance.
Police described the event as peaceful with no arrests.
A crowd in Atlanta huddled under a blanket of umbrellas amid intermittent downpours. Among them was Diane Lent, 66, an educator from rural Habersham County in north Georgia who drove 90 miles to attend the rally.
"I'm a woman, I'm a mother, I'm a grandmother — and I believe in justice, and I think we need to stand up for what we believe in," she said.
Lent said she's concerned about how education will fare under a Trump administration, and she's worried about his cabinet appointees.
During the campaign, she was stunned at the ways he referred to women.
"I was horrified, just horrified that we've come to that point in time again," Lent said.
Demonstrators crammed the streets outside Trump's Manhattan home, saying the new leader might be from there, but he's no New Yorker.
"New York is a community in itself, and people care about each other, and it's diverse," said Ashia Badi, 44, who brought her two daughters to the march. "He doesn't feel like he has those New York values I see."
Trump was born and raised in New York City, but the majority of the city and state voted for Hillary Clinton.
Tens of thousands of protesters carrying signs that read: "Women's rights are human rights" and "A woman's place is in the resistance" funneled past Trump Tower to thunderous cheers on tony Fifth Avenue, where he conducted nearly all of his postelection business. It's also where first lady Melania Trump and the couple's young son, Barron, will live.
Brooklyn resident Zakiyyah Woods, 32, said Trump doesn't understand how the city's working men and women struggle.
"He definitely represents that one percent of New Yorkers who built this city for themselves," she said.
Demonstrators overwhelmed Montpelier, with the police chief saying city roads couldn't support any more people or vehicles.
Marchers poured into the center of the small city and packed the statehouse lawn.
The Vermont State Police eventually closed Interstate 89 exit ramps in and around Montpelier due
Roxana Viera and her family joined thousands at a rally at an amphitheater hoping to demonstrate that the majority of Americans did not choose Trump.
"The values he presents are not the values of the nation," said the 45-year-old doctor from Jupiter, Florida.
Her daughter Sofia Johnson, 11, made a sign protesting what she considered the new president's denigration of women: "Nothing is weaker than a man who hurts women with his words."
Thousands filed into the amphitheater under blazing sunshine and gave rousing cheers to speeches by community activists, interspersed with the thumping rhythms of a drum group and other musical acts.
Gay couple Gary Fuller, 29, a medical device salesman, and Kyle Merville, 28, a developer, said they feared a rollback of gay rights under Trump.
"He's marginalized so many groups," Fuller said.
Amanda Guzman, her two young sons and husband joined the thousands who marched and chanted in Seattle.
"What I'm seeing here is overwhelming, the solidarity and love," she said, pushing her 18-month-old in a stroller.
She said it's so easy to listen to Trump and see the only bad, but the throngs of protesters gave her hope. "It's all reassuring that there's still good, and we will fight this."
Fathia Absie, a Muslim-American writer and filmmaker who lives in Seattle, said she marched to support women's rights and all rights. As a woman who wears a hijab, she said she is more afraid now than after Sept. 11.
"We have to come together," she said. "What makes this country beautiful and unique, unlike anywhere else in the world, is that we're so diverse. Our differences make us beautiful."
City officials declined to provide estimates but said the march grew into one contiguous mass of people filling an entire 3.6-mile route.
Park City, Utah
Actress Charlize Theron and other celebrities led demonstrators in a chant of "Love, not hate, makes America great" through the snowy streets of Park City during the annual Sundance Film Festival.
The march was about unity and bringing people together, Theron told The Associated Press.
"None of us are here today to divide anyone. We're already divided enough," she said. "I think we are really here today to celebrate coming together and working together and hearing each other and being able to move forward instead of moving backward. That's all we want."
Comedian Chelsea Handler agreed.
"After that terrible day yesterday, we are going to unite," she said.
Several hundred demonstrators shut down four lanes of traffic on a central boulevard outside the U.S. embassy in Mexico City. They held up signs such as "Nasty women keep fighting" and "Girls just wanna have fundamental rights."
The Mexican capital is home to a sizable population of U.S. citizens, and many in the crowd were Americans.
Laura Moodey, a 40-year-old nonprofit worker originally from Phoenix, said she was disappointed by Trump's inaugural speech.
"I was hoping for something different. I was hoping to hear the change in tone that we normally hear after a long, bitter campaign," she said.
Moodey brought her 3-year-old son, Joaquin Torres, to the march. He held a sign that read, in Spanish, "This is my world. I believe in science and respect."
By Sara Burnett and Gregory Katz, Associated Press. Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
The Gayly – January 21, 2017 @ 6 p.m.