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Women's March protests against Trump

January 19, 2020

Thousands of women have slammed the US president's assault on reproductive rights, climate change and immigration. One protester called Trump the "biggest bully in the world."

People participate in the Women's March
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/AP Photo/M. B. Ceneta

Thousands of women gathered for an annual march in Washington and more than 180 other cities to protest US President Donald Trump's targeting of women's rights.

"I am even more outraged than I was three years ago," said a placard carried by a 40-year-old Washington resident. "We all knew that Trump was going to be horrible, and he has been even more horrible than we realize."

Despite the drop in numbers, with only a few thousand participants on the streets of Washington, activists remained hopeful about the power to organize.

"It is a cold day and it does not matter if its 10 people or 100 people or 1,000 people if our voices are strong," said a 50-year-old woman who said she regularly attends the march that started in 2017. "We are powerful together — that's the most important thing."

The 2017 Women's March drew nearly 1 million people to the streets of Washington, DC, and hundreds of thousands in other US cities one day after Trump's inauguration. 

Read more: US women prepare for future without legal abortion

 A woman holds up a "Women matter" sign in front of the Red Cross building as thousands turn out for the fourth annual Women's March rebuking President Donald Trump and his administration in Washington
Hot on the heels of the beginning of Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate, protesters take jabs at the US presidentImage: picture-alliance/dpa/newscom/UPI/K. Cedeno

Assault on women's rights

Many of the protesters cited Trump's hard-line policy on women's reproductive rights, climate change and refugees as major motivators for joining the march.

"Look what's he's doing to Greta Thunberg," said a 70-year-old climate activist, referring to the teenage Swedish activist who launched the Fridays for Future school strikes to draw attention to the man-made destabilization of earth's climate. She was named Time magazine's Person of the Year in 2019.

Read more: Greta Thunberg: The teenage eco-activist who took the world by storm

Demonstrator hold up a large placard at the fourth annual Women's March in Washington
Protesters were critical of the Trump administration's attempts to restrict women's reproductive rightsImage: picture-alliance/dpa/newscom/UPI/K. Cedeno

'Biggest bully'

Trump has regularly targeted Thunberg on Twitter and lamented climate change as a ploy "created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive."

"He's the biggest bully in the world," added the 70-year-old activist.

Other protests took place in New York, Los Angeles and other major cities across the US.

Read more: Cyberbullying: 'There are no safe spaces anymore'

A man holds up a placard at the fourth annual Women's March
Some men joined the march in solidarityImage: picture-alliance/dpa/newscom/UPI/K. Cedeno

Local criticism

But not everyone was thrilled with the Women's March in Washington. DC-based activists criticized organizers for going forward with the march, saying they undermined efforts to highlight local issues.

"Local DC is a domestic colony and the actions of national organizers have to recognize that," said Black Lives Matter DC in a letter for the Women's March organizers.

"Here in DC, these unstrategic mass mobilizations distract from local organizing, often overlook the black people who actually live here and even result in tougher laws against demonstration being passed locally."

Read more: Stonewall at 50: LGBT+ activists ask 'What's next?'

A woman holds a sign that reads, "Respect women of color"
Protesters drew attention to marginalized communities, including people of color and the LGBT+ communityImage: picture-alliance/dpa/NurPhoto/A. Samperio

National Archives: 'We apologize'

The march was held the same day the US National Archives apologized for blurring anti-Trump signs in a promotional image for a women's suffrage exhibition.

"We made a mistake," said the National Archives. "As the National Archives of the United States, we are and have always been completely committed to preserving our archival holdings, without alteration."

"We have removed the current display and will replace it as soon as possible with one that uses the unaltered image," it added. "We apologize."

Read more: Opinion: Trump earned his impeachment

ls/sms (AFP, AP)

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