Large crowds turn out for Women’s March on Washington

Image courtesy of Katy Nowlin

UPDATE:

1:20 p.m.

A massive turnout at the Women’s March on Washington has forced a change of plans. With the entire planned route filled with hundreds of thousands of protesters, organizers can’t lead a formal march toward the White House.

That’s according to a District of Columbia official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the official isn’t authorized to speak for the march.

The official says that shortly before 1 p.m., people were standing along the entire march route.

While there will be no formal march led from the protest stage near the Capitol, the crowd is still expected to move toward the Ellipse, an area of the National Mall in front of the White House.

The official says there could be more than half a million people on the Mall, but it’s difficult to estimate because low cloud cover is making aerial photographs impossible.

12:40 p.m.

So many people have turned out for the Women’s March in Chicago that organizers have cancelled their plans to march through the city’s downtown.

Instead, they’ll extend the ongoing rally on the city’s lakefront.

Organizers say far more people than they were initially expecting are at the demonstration in Grant Park along Lake Michigan, and overflow areas are being used.

They say the planned march through downtown Chicago had to be canceled due to public safety concerns, but that the rally has been extended until 12:30 p.m. Central time.

Protesters are still arriving at the rally, many with signs critical of President Donald Trump.

12:05 p.m.

President Donald Trump is getting a view of the protesters in town for the Women’s March from the window of his limo.

Trump’s motorcade was on its way back to the White House from a prayer service when he passed several prominent groups of protesters.

As he crossed one intersection, cars started honking loudly.

Some of the protesters held up signs that likened women’s rights to human rights. It’s a nod to a famous speech that former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton gave in China as first lady.

Other signs read “We stand with Planned Parenthood.”

11:45 a.m.

Figures from transportation officials in Washington suggest more people may be on the National Mall for the women’s march than came for President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

As of 11 a.m. Saturday, 275,000 people had taken trips on the city’s subway system.

On Inauguration Day, 193,000 trips had been taken as of that time, and the rail system opened an hour earlier that day, at 4 a.m.

Saturday’s ridership figures were more than eight times a normal Saturday and busier than most weekdays.

In addition, some 1,800 buses were registered to park in the city. Greyhound reported adding more buses from New York. And a commuter rail system in Washington added five times its normal capacity to help deal with the crowds.

11:35 a.m.

Filmmaker Michael Moore says he’s at the Women’s March on Washington “to vow to end the Trump carnage.”

Trump is riffing on a phrase from President Donald Trump’s inaugural address. Trump said on Friday that he would stop the “American carnage.”

Moore is urging attendees to call their members of Congress every day to protest Trump’s policies. He says, “we have to get busy.”

Moore says those concerned about Trump should join organizations like Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union and environmental groups. He says he joined Planned Parenthood on Saturday morning.

11:25 a.m.

District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser says the best thing the federal government led by Donald Trump can do is “leave us alone.”

Bowser says she’s speaking at the Women’s March on Washington on behalf of all female elected officials. She says women are more harshly and unfairly criticized at every level of government.

Bowser is appearing at the rally wearing a pointy-eared “pussyhat.” She says “we need every woman and every man to speak up for us.”

Bowser says in the era of President Trump, Americans must stand up for immigration rights and LGBT rights. She says they also must fight for climate protection and public education.

11:15 p.m.

Getting to the Women’s March on Washington and its sister events around the country is proving a challenge.

Before President Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday morning, Metro subway officials said only two of its parking garages and lots were at more than 60 percent capacity.

On Saturday, many garages and lots at the ends of subway lines were at or near capacity.

In New York, Greyhound had to scramble to get extra buses and drivers for the 3:45 a.m. departure to Washington after a crush of last-minute ticket purchases.

A spokeswoman says they ended up with a total of 18 extra buses, and some couldn’t leave until 6:30 a.m. because there weren’t enough drivers on site.

In Chicago, trains from the city’s suburbs to a downtown march are packed. Officials added trains to their Saturday morning schedule in anticipation of higher-than-usual ridership, but passengers are still reporting standing-room-only trains and crowded platforms.

Some trains are so full they are bypassing scheduled stops.

10:20 a.m.

Actress America Ferrera says “every single one of us” is under attack by President Donald Trump.

Ferrera is speaking at the start of a rally that is opening the Women’s March on Washington. She says people are gathered in the capital and across the country to say to Trump, “We refuse.”

The “Ugly Betty” star says the marchers reject demonization of Muslims. She says they also refuse to give up their “right to safe and legal abortions.”

Ferrera says the U.S. won’t ask LGBT Americans to go backward and won’t go from a nation of immigrants to “a nation of ignorance.”

10:10 a.m.

Hillary Clinton is praising those attending the Women’s March on Washington.

The former Democratic nominee for president is thanking attendees on Twitter for “standing, speaking and marching for our values.” She says it’s as “important as ever.”

Clinton is also reviving her campaign slogan and says in the tweet she believes “we’re always Stronger Together.”

Clinton’s show of support for the march comes a day after she attended President Donald Trump’s inauguration at the U.S. Capitol.

Demonstrators march on the street near a security checkpoint inaugural entrance, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017 in Washington, ahead of President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration. Protesters pitching diverse causes but united against the incoming president are making their mark on Inauguration Day. ( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Demonstrators march on the street near a security checkpoint inaugural entrance, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017 in Washington, ahead of President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration. Protesters pitching diverse causes but united against the incoming president are making their mark on Inauguration Day. ( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

9:40 a.m.

A city official in Washington says the turnout estimate for the Women’s March on the National Mall now stands at 500,000 people. That’s more than double the initial predictions.

Kevin Donahue is Washington’s deputy mayor for public safety and justice. He says on Twitter that organizers of the march are increasing the turnout estimate to half a million.

There were early signs across Washington that Saturday’s crowds could top those that gathered on Friday to watch President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Metro subway stations and train cars are full in many locations, while ridership on Friday was well off the numbers from Barack Obama’s first inaugural.

The march’s National Park Service permit estimated a turnout of 200,000, but the District of Columbia’s homeland security chief had previously predicted turnout would be higher.

WASHINGTON (AP/WRIC) — A day after self-described anarchists created chaos, thousands of women are descending upon Washington for what is expected to be a more orderly show of force on the first full day of Donald Trump’s presidency.

Organizers of Saturday’s Women’s March on Washington expect more than 200,000 people to attend their gathering, a number that could rival Trump’s swearing-in ceremony. Attendees are “hurting and scared” as the new president takes office and want a greater voice for women in political life, according to the organizers’ mission statement.

“In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore,” the statement says.

Women and other groups were demonstrating across the nation and as far abroad as Myanmar and Australia.

In Sydney, thousands of Australians marched in solidarity in the city’s central Hyde Park. One organizer said hatred, bigotry and racism are not only America’s problems.

The Washington gathering, which features a morning rally and afternoon march, comes a day after protesters set fires and hurled bricks in a series of clashes that led to more than 200 arrests. Police used pepper spray and stun grenades to prevent the chaos from spilling into Trump’s formal procession and evening balls.

About a mile from the National Mall, police gave chase to a group of about 100 protesters who smashed the windows of downtown businesses including a Starbucks, a Bank of America and a McDonald’s as they denounced capitalism and Trump.

“They began to destroy property, throw objects at people, through windows. A large percentage of this small group was armed with crowbars and hammers,” said the city’s interim police chief, Peter Newsham.

Six officers suffered minor injuries, he said.

The confrontation began an hour before Trump took the oath of office and escalated several hours later as the crowd of protesters swelled to more than 1,000, some wearing gas masks and with arms chained together inside PVC pipe. One said the demonstrators were “bringing in the cavalry.”

When some crossed police lines, taunting, “Put the pigs in the ground,” police charged with batons and pepper spray, as well as stun grenades, which are used to shock and disperse crowds. Booms echoed through the streets about six blocks from where Trump would soon hold his inaugural parade.

Some protesters picked up bricks and concrete from the sidewalk and hurled them at police lines. Some rolled large, metal trash cans at police. Later, they set fire to a limousine on the perimeter of the secured zone, sending black smoke billowing into the sky during Trump’s procession.

As night fell, protesters set a bonfire blocks from the White House and frightened well-dressed Trump supporters as they ventured to the new president’s inaugural balls. Police briefly ordered ball-goers to remain inside their hotel as they worked to contain advancing protesters.

Police said they charged 217 people with rioting, said Newsham, noting that the group caused “significant damage” along a number of blocks.

Before Inauguration Day, the DisruptJ20 coalition, named after the date of the inauguration, had promised that people participating in its actions in Washington would attempt to shut down the celebrations, risking arrest when necessary.

It was unclear whether the groups will be active on Saturday.

The Women’s March on Washington features a morning rally with a speaking lineup that includes a series of celebrities, Scarlett Johansson, America Ferrara, Amy Schumer, Frances McDormand and Zendaya, among them.

Christopher Geldart, the District of Columbia’s homeland security director, said he expects the march to draw more than 200,000. He said 1,800 buses have registered to park in the city on Jan. 21, which would mean nearly 100,000 people coming in just by bus.

Friday’s protests spread across the nation. In San Francisco, thousands formed a human chain on the Golden Gate Bridge and chanted “Love Trumps hate.” In the city’s financial district, a few hundred protesters blocked traffic outside an office building partly owned by Trump.

In Atlanta, protests converged at City Hall and a few hundred people chanted and waved signs protesting Trump, denouncing racism and police brutality and expressing support for immigrants, Muslims and the Black Lives Matter movement.

In Nashville, half a dozen protesters chained themselves to the doors of the Tennessee Capitol. Hundreds also sat in a 10-minute silent protest at a park while Trump took the oath of office. Organizers led a prayer, sang patriotic songs and read the Declaration of Independence aloud.

In the Pacific Northwest, demonstrators in Portland, Oregon, burned U.S. flags and students at Portland State University walked out of classes. About 200 protesters gathered on the Capitol steps in Olympia, Washington, carrying signs that included the messages “Resist Trump” and “Not My Problem.”

Women's hold up banners as they rally at Capitol Hill during a protest against President Donald Trump policies, in Washington, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. ( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Women’s hold up banners as they rally at Capitol Hill during a protest against President Donald Trump policies, in Washington, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. ( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

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