Women’s Marches Go Global: Postcards From Protests Around The World
Saturday, January 21, 2017
Updated at 3:13 p.m. ET
As the Women's March on Washington has swelled in support, attracting attention and supporters in the lead-up to Saturday's demonstrations, its name has become something of a misnomer.
Sister marches have been organized in all 50 states, and in countries around the world. They have been organized to express solidarity with the aims of the original march: opposition to President Trump's agenda, and support of women's rights and human rights in general.
Given the quirks of time zones, many of those marches kicked off before the event that inspired them. In Paris, London, Berlin, Amsterdam, Mexico City, Bangkok, Delhi, Cape Town, and other cities, protesters have already broken out their signs and pink hats in solidarity.
Here's a glimpse of the marches Saturday — around the country, and around the world.
"It is shoulder to shoulder" in Boston Common, WBUR's Deborah Becker tells Scott Simon on Weekend Edition Saturday. She describes the rally there as a "sea of pink," referring to the pink knit caps that have become distinctive of the Women's March on Washington.
The caps have come to be known as "pussyhats," in reference to a tape in which Trump bragged about assaulting women by grabbing their genitals.
Deborah reports that the message of the Boston protesters is one of solidarity with the primary march in Washington. They bear signs not only protesting Trump, but supporting a range of issues — from climate science to women's access to abortion and birth control.
Both Massachusetts senators, Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, addressed the rally in Boston.
"I'm here to fight back!" Warren told the crowd. "We are in marches to say we are fighting back. That's who we are."
"There's been a steady stream of marchers" in the streets of downtown Raleigh, reports Jess Clark of member station WUNC. "It spans the spectrum — protesters represent diverse issues, diverse backgrounds."
She notes that she has seen men in baseball caps, women in hijabs and several people in those distinctive pink caps.
"The massive crowd has taken over the downtown area, shutting down several streets in the process," The Associated Press reports from Raleigh.
The news service notes marches and rallies are taking place in cities across the state, including Charlotte and Asheville.
Thousands marched through the British capital Saturday in what was billed as a women's march, but was ostensibly an anti-Trump rally.
Marchers walked about 2 miles from the U.S. Embassy in Grosvenor Square to Trafalgar Square, within eyesight of Big Ben. The event ran for more than three hours and the size of the crowds easily dwarfed political rallies in the lead-up to last summer's Brexit vote here.
As in other cities around the world, protesters carried signs criticizing America's 45th president. Many signs read "We Shall Overcomb," referring to the U.S. president's signature hair-style. "Trump Special Relationship? Just Say No," read others, referring to the historically close diplomatic ties between the U.S. and the United Kingdom.
Many in this cosmopolitan, multicultural city, which voted heavily against the United Kingdom leaving the EU, were already upset by Trump's election in November. The president's "America first" inaugural speech only fueled alarm here.
A British software engineer named David said he watched the speech with officemates yesterday in stunned silence.
"It was a harrowing, chilling experience," said David, as he stood in front of London's National Gallery overlooking the rally in Trafalgar Square. "The sense of nationalism and protectionism was there and there was quite a sinister undercurrent."
David, who did not offer his last name, said he was disturbed by the insularity of the Trump's address, elements of which reminded him of the positions espoused by the political far-right here in the U.K.
"There is a movement in Britain called 'Britain first,' " he said, "which is a terrifying, horrible right-wing group."
The march in London was among a number of anti-Trump rallies across Western Europe on Saturday, including cities such as Berlin, Paris, Belfast and Copenhagen.
The march in Mexico City began at the U.S. Embassy and proceeded to the Angel of Independence monument. But, as NPR's Carrie Kahn reports, the march was so large, the crowd of demonstrators stretched from one landmark to the other.
Carrie says the march comprised a mix of Americans and Mexicans, who appeared to be protesting Mexican President President Enrique Peña Nieto as much as President Trump.
Peña Nieto has dismal approval ratings in his own country; a recent poll showed only 12 percent of Mexicans approve of the job he's doing.
The chants — shouted in both Spanish and English — focused not only on the two leaders, but women's rights and gender equality, as well.
Sioux Falls, S.D.
In Sioux Falls, the women's march has focused partly on American Indian rights, reports Kealey Bultena of South Dakota Public Broadcasting. Chants of "Native lives matter" rippled throughout the march.
"We want to protect Mother Earth, first of all, for the future generations and also we have our human rights as women," marcher Julia Brown Wolf told Kealey. Brown Wolf had traveled from the Crow Creek Indian Reservation for the demonstration. "You know, we have to think in seven generations ahead."
Kealey reports Brown Wolf marched with her granddaughters. "She does not want them to face discrimination for being a woman or a Native American," Kealey says.
Demonstrators gathered in the city's Hyde Park carrying signs with slogans like "Bridges not walls," and "A woman's place is in the revolution."
As protester Stef Vogt told The Sydney Morning Herald, "We want to send a sign to the women in the U.S. that we're all in this together."
But participants also say this isn't just about Trump.
"Women's rights are not about women," musician Amanda Palmer told a the marchers. "They're about everyone. My son and husband are feminists."
There were even "marchers" in Antarctica. Linda Zunas, a reseacher in a remote corner of the continent called Paradise Bay, told The Independent that she organized a group of 30 people with banners reading "Penguins for peace" and "love from seven continents."
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