On Saturday the 21st of January 2016, the day after the inauguration of President Trump, women and men gathered in their masses for the official Women’s March, in support of women’s rights. The 45th president has famously spoken out against the rights of women and minority groups, prompting public figures, celebrities and the public to attend marches and rallies around the globe for causes they now believe to be under threat. Stars including Jane Fonda, Jamie Lee Curtis, Courtney Cox, Madonna and Natalie Portman turned out, and many, including Scarlett Johansson, also made impassioned speeches in support of the cause.
600 marches in 75 countries took place around the world, including Antarctica – and the impact of them has since reverberated around the planet. The marches have been compared in scale to some of the world’s greatest protests, including the 1963 civil rights movement march. And it’s expected to take its place in history as one of the biggest protests ever.
Almost every major news outlet worldwide, from the BBC, to the Huffington Post and CNN, covered the marches, and the Twitter hashtag, #womensmarch, trended around the world.
The White House itself even took to social media to comment on the wide-scale event – although the President appeared unenthused by the protests. Tweeting from his personal Twitter account rather than the POTUS account, Donald Trump admitted he didn’t understand why people were unhappy, given that he’d just won the presidential vote.
However, the new President later appeared to change his mind, speaking out in support of the protests. [twitter]https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/823174199036542980[/twitter]
Former Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton also took to Twitter to comment on how inspiring she found the marches.
The idea for the marches snowballed from a single Facebook invite. A woman called Teresa Shook, from Washington, sent it out to just 40 of her friends on the social networking site – and coverage grew from there. More than three million people attended the marches around the world, with a turnout of 2.9 million in the US alone.
500,000 protestors took to the streets in Washington DC, where the inauguration of the President was taking place. This was three times the size of the crowd at the inauguration ceremony – a number which is estimated to be around 160,000.
But, 750,000 people attended the marches in Los Angeles, California alone.
One out of every 100 Americans took part in the marches across
the US – according to estimates from professors at the University of
Denver and the University of Conneticut. Meanwhile, some 100,000 people in London took to the streets to protest the new American president.
3,000 people in Sydney’s Martin Place took part in the rallies there – while just 30 Trump supporters gathered for an anti-protest nearby.
Thousands of original and innovative signs were brought out at the demonstrations to help illustrate exactly what people were protesting against. One sign in particular harked back to the era of the Suffragetes, suggesting the general feeling of disbelief that people are still required to protest for women’s rights…
But while the marches were inspiring, and undeniably rallied people together in the face of a threat, what will be the long-lasting impact of them – and can they help make real political change? Becky Bond, co-author of a book on campaigning, Rules for Revolutionaries: How Big Organising Can Change Everything, has said that the key now is for an organisation to come about who can channel the message and enthusiasm of the marches in order to bring about real political change. Will it work? Only time will tell…