WASHINGTON, D.C. — A sea of pink pussycat hats and homemade protest signs descended on the Capitol Saturday as hundreds of thousands of demonstrators gathered for the Women’s March on Washington.
In fact, so many people turned out on Independence Avenue near the Smithsonian Institution complex that organizers had trouble moving out for the march. Women and plenty of men journeyed from around the country to take part in the march born out of outrage to the election of Donald Trump as president. The pink hats are a cheeky reference to Trump’s now infamous “grab them by the p—y” boast that surfaced during the presidential campaign.
The anger toward Trump was palpable in the crowd. Signs took aim at the unconventional politician who shocked the establishment with his victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton. March attendees said they were moved to action out of fear that the Trump administration will restrict women’s reproductive rights and defund Planned Parenthood. Other policy differences on display included concern for environmental, health care and education issues, particularly related to climate change.
The march was formally set to kickoff at 10 a.m. ET with numerous speakers including Scarlett Johansson, Planned Parenthood leader Cecile Richards, activist Angela Davis and Gloria Steinem. Alicia Keys, Janelle Monae and Maxwell performed. There was grumbling in the crowd that the speeches went on for too long, as chants of “March, march, march” began. But despite the crowds and restlessness, the scene has remained calm.
Madonna made a surprise appearance and performed “Express Yourself” and “Human Nature,” the latter of which she dedicated to Donald Trump.
A woman named Lottie who declined to give her last name said she was motivated to come out to show her opposition to the policy agenda laid out so far by Trump. She carried a sign that read “She Wars The Force Awakens” with lettering in the “Star Wars” font.
“People are pissed,” she said. “I’m worried about an erosion of civil liberties” under Trump. She’s also worried about Trump’s picks for the Supreme Court.
The Women’s March effort includes related events in New York, Los Angeles and other cities across the country. There were large contingents of people organized by state and region in Washington as well.