The day after the U.S Presidential inaugration, cities in the U.S and around the world saw nearly three million people - mostly women, take to the streets in protest.
Known as the 'Women's March on Washington", the largest gathering was in the capital Washington D.C on January 21, 2017. What was expected to be crowd of 200,000 turned out to be more than 500,000. Several prominent speakers addressed the crowd, before the marchers moved from the Capitol to the White House.
After Washington D.C, the largest crowds were in Los Angeles, New York City and Chicago, followed by cities large and small around the U.S. Sister marches took place around the world -- from Paris (France) to Cape Town (South Africa), Lima (Peru), Tel Aviv (Israel) and Auckland (New Zealand).
What Was The Protest About?
The women's march was about individual rights and human rights -- that strength comes from embracing the diversity around us. While some women marched in support of ending violence against women, other marched in support of civil rights, women's reproductive rights, and in support of LGBT people, immigrants and disabled.
The timing of the protests - the day after the Presidential inauguration, was chosen by the protestors to send a message to the President. President Trump had run an election campaign where he had divided people. African-Americans, Muslims, Mexicans, women, the disabled, and anyone with a different belief, including his opponent Hillary Clinton, was mocked and disrespected. As one marcher in New York said "It felt like his whole campaign was about if we push them down, we’ll come up. But really, if we pull each other up, we all come up.”
Others felt that even though Trump had won the elections, he had lost the popular vote by a large margin of nearly 3 million. Read about electoral and popular votes here. The leaks showing Russia had interfered in U.S elections in support of Trump was on their minds as well.
The Power Of Social Media
The idea for a Women's March was first proposed by a Hawaiian woman named Teresa Shook. Disappointed by the election results, she created a facebook page for a fictional march. By the following morning, more than 10,000 women had joined!
The fictional march soon turned into reality. People organized themselves using Facebook to advertize sister marches in support of the main Washington DC march and volunteering their time. A march that would have taken several months to put together, came together in less than six weeks.
The marchers did not have a common agenda, but what the world saw was the two sides of democracy - a peaceful transfer of power on January 20 and a peaceful protest on January 21. The U.S is going through divided times - technology and globalization has taken away many jobs and widened the gap between the rich and the poor. With the U.S Government in the hands of the Republican party, only time will tell if the Trump Government will address the real concerns of the people.