Hundreds of thousands of protesters swarmed Washington, D.C. on Saturday one day after Donald J. Trump was sworn-in as the 45th President of the United States of America.
“I didn’t need much motivation,” said Alison Poole, an architect from Brooklyn, when asked why she came to the nation’s capital on a cold and dreary winter weekend. “Watching a man I have no respect for being inaugurated was reason enough.”
Pennsylvania Avenue was packed with people, many affiliated with the Women’s March – a group that staged rallies in several cities across the country. Marchers held signs and chanted “Love, not hate, that’s what makes America great.”
Organizers said the Women’s March was a response to the mean spirited rhetoric of the 2016 election cycle. Sharon Wilson, a retired steelworker from Newport News, Va., attended the march with her daughter and granddaughter. For Wilson, Trump’s election was a painful reminder of male privilege.
“Do you think a woman could have gotten elected having said everything (Trump) did and been married three times? Not a chance,” Wilson said.
As marchers passed the Trump International Hotel many stopped and began chanting in chorus “Shame! Shame! Shame!” Over at the rally site on Independence Avenue, celebrities such as Madonna, Gloria Steinem, Scarlett Johansson, Ashley Judd and America Ferrera urged activists to not give up.
“Our dignity, our character, our rights have been under attack,” Ferrera said. “But the President is not America. We are America.”
Transgender activists Janet Mock and Raquel Willis were part of the speakers at the DC rally. Mock, a best-selling author, said “our approach to freedom need not be identical but it must be intersectional and inclusive.”
The Washington Post estimated more than a million people crammed into the district for Saturday’s events, bringing public transit to a slow crawl. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer spent the bulk of his first day on the job blasting the media for “false reporting” and “inaccurate and reckless” attendance figures from Friday's inauguration. Trump, meanwhile, spent the day in Langley, Va. visiting the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency.