By: Tyler Bloomfield, Anna O’Brien, Brandon Choghri, Alanna Fairey and Hunter Crowther
WASHINGTON — Hundreds of thousands marched for women’s rights in the U.S. capital on Saturday, voicing their concerns one day after Donald Trump was sworn in as president of the United States.
Seas of demonstrators, in what was billed as the Women’s March on Washington, held signs and protested against the new president, whom they say does not share the values of many Americans and doesn’t respect women.
Among other things they were showing solidarity for ending violence against women, equal pay, reproductive rights, the environment and immigration.
Canadians in Washington
The Eastern Market was the rallying point for 11 buses of Canadians that made the trip down to Washington for the Women’s March.
As vendors set up their tents for weekend shoppers, Canadians arrived in droves, proudly waving flags and announcing their hometowns.
They came to D.C. early Saturday morning – for awareness, feminism, equality, their families, and of course, coffee. Canadian women showed up from all around the country, and they were joined by men too, eager to lend their voices to the protest.
Marissa McTasney, a mother from Whitby, said troubling statistics from a sexually predatory culture made her make the trip to Washington.
“I have an 11-year-old daughter. One-in-four girls are getting sexually assaulted in university,” McTasney said. “That’s the norm. The norm should be zero. I shouldn’t be a mom worried to send my kid to university.”
John Skardzius came from Burlington and considers himself to be a feminist. He says the results of the election and Saturday’s rally stems from the divide in society.
“We tend to, as a society, polarize everything we talk about and that’s increasingly so. It’s the result of what we’re witnessing here.”
How many protestors were there?
The Washington Post reported organizers originally sought a permit for a gathering of 200,000, but estimated as many as a half million participants, dwarfing Friday’s inagural crowd.
— Brandon Choghri (@BrandonChoghri) January 21, 2017
Social activist and feminist icon Gloria Steinem spoke to the crowd in the morning, encouraging women to look beyond the day and stand united.
“Make sure you introduce yourselves to each other and decide what we’re going to tomorrow, and tomorrow and tomorrow, and we’re never turning back!” Steinem said.
— David Common (@davidcommon) January 21, 2017
Documentary filmaker Michael Moore encouraged the protestors to contact their congressman or run for office themselves.
Actress Ashley Judd attacked Trump, referring to him calling Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton a ‘nasty woman’ in one of the presidential debates in the fall, as well as the 2005 Access Hollywood recording of Trump bragging he could use his celebrity status to force himself on women.
Clinton tweets support for marches
Thanks for standing, speaking & marching for our values @womensmarch. Important as ever. I truly believe we’re always Stronger Together.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) January 21, 2017
The former New York senator and secretary of state showed her support for the marches across the planet.
“Thanks for standing, speaking & marching for our values @womensmarch. Important as ever. I truly believe we’re always Stronger Together,” said Clinton in the tweet.
‘I was so disgusted, I was physically ill’
Mary Boger knocked on doors all over the state of Florida for Clinton during the campaign. After Trump won, her and friend Susan Hunt planned on attending the Women’s March.
Boger says the moment she knew she had to get involved was after the president appeared to mock disabled reporter Serge Kovaleski, who suffers from arthrogryposis.
“When I saw Donald Trump mock and deride a handicapped person, I was so disgusted I was physically ill,” Boger said. “I could not possibly stand by.”
“It’s just unbelievable to me that so many people did not see this as an affront to women and decent people when we elected this person,” said Hunt. “We’re terrified.”
Toronto involved in protests
Back in Toronto, thousands gathered at Queen’s Park to protest President Trump. Organizers told Humber News an estimated 60,000 assembled.
— Alana MacLeod (@Lans_macleod) January 21, 2017
Canadian author Margaret Atwood was in attendance, along with former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson.
— Margaret E. Atwood (@MargaretAtwood) January 21, 2017
With notes from Humber News reporter Alana MacLeod