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Millions march against Trump

January 22, 2017

Trump's first full day in office belonged to the women who oppose him. The Women's March on Washington and its hundreds of sister events drew millions of participants across the globe.

Women's March Deutschland Berlin Annette von der Markt
Image: Annette von der Markt

Turnout at President Trump's inauguration may have been poor, but the same could not be said for the Women's March on Washington and its hundreds of connected events across the world on Saturday. Millions of people, mostly women, took to the streets on every continent - including Antarctica – to vdemand recognition of their rights, and, at least in part, to protest Trump's hostility to women and minorities.

Film producer and screenwriter Kerry Fleming managed to get some aerial footage of the march to show just how large the crowd was:

"Welcome to your first day, we will never go away," chanted some of the hundreds of thousands of protestors in Washington as night fell. Wearing knit pink "pussy hats" in reference to misogynistic comments once made by President Trump, the lead event drew some 500,000 participants in the US capital alone.

Trump mum on protests

President Trump has not commented on the protests, though he had to drive past some of the demonstrators on his first official visit to CIA headquarters in northern Virginia. Despite previously comparing the intelligence agency to "Nazi Germany," he told officials there on Saturday that he was behind them "one thousand percent." He then went on to blast the media for reporting on the low turnout at his inauguration festivities.

Although no one from the Trump administration commented on the global outpouring, Michael Flynn Jr., the son of the president's national security adviser, Michael Flynn, mockingly suggested on Twitter that the women were marching because they wanted free manicures. He claimed that women "already have equal rights," and inaccurately stated that they have equal pay as well.

Germans march in solidarity

With sister marches planned as far afield as Cape Town, Tokyo, and Tel Aviv, to name just a few, at least six solidarity events played out across Germany – in Bonn, Heidelberg, Berlin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt and Munich. German politicians either offered muted reactions or heavy criticism for President Trump during his inauguration, and Germans came out in droves to show their support for Americans demanding consideration from their leaders.

Thousands came out in Frankfurt alone, where DW's Mara Bierbach reported that women were protesting for a myriad of reasons - partly due to Trump's approach to women and minorities - but also against how these groups are oppressed by power structures across the world.

Women's March in Frankfurt
The solidarity march in Frankfurt was just one of the events across Europe to demand equal rights for women and minoritiesImage: DW/M. Bierbach

One participant at the Frankfurt march told Bierbach that people across the world needed to be vigilant towards right-wing populism in general. This is not an unfounded fear, as National Front leader Marine Le Pen is polling strongly in the upcoming French presidential elections. Germany's nationalistic Alternative for Germany (AfD) party is also looking set to enter parliament for the first time in September.

The marcher's comment was especially relevant due to far-right leaders from across Europe meeting in the German city of Koblenz on Saturday to promote, among other things, patriotism - a key feature of Trump's inaugural address.

As darkness settled over Washington, protesters refused to be deterred and continued their demonstration. According to local police, despite the massive numbers of people, the day had been a completely peaceful one. Compared to the 200 arrests made on Friday after scuffles broke out between demonstrators and police during the inauguration, Saturday's event was peaceful, with no arrests made.

Elizabeth Schumacher Elizabeth Schumacher reports on gender equity, immigration, poverty and education in Germany.