Politicians, Activists Rally Crowd at Women’s March in Washington

ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) --   Activists and politicians are participating in the Women's March on Washington this morning, the biggest of hundreds of marches taking place today.

The rally featured speeches from women's rights activist Gloria Steinem, Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, actress Ashley Judd and director Michael Moore among others.

A group of largely women senators and other politicians took the stage together at one point, including Kirsten Gillibrand, Claire McCaskill, and newly elected Senators Kamala Harris and Tammy Duckworth, who addressed the group as did Rep. Maxine Waters. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Sen. Cory Booker were also on stage.

With the timing and sheer number of people involved, it comes as little surprise that there are various causes attached to the march, which was largely billed as a demonstration in support of women's rights and civil rights but for many has clear political undertones connected to the inauguration of Donald Trump.

While crowd estimates are fluctuating and have not been confirmed, the DC Metro system posted on Twitter that there have been 275,000 trips as of 11:00 a.m. this morning. By comparison, 193,000 trips had been taken by the same time on Friday ahead of the inauguration.

 Steinem thanked the crowd for showing up en masse, declaring, "We have people power and we will use it."

"Thank you for understanding that sometimes we have to put our bodies where our beliefs are. Sometimes pressing send is not enough," she said to the crowd, many of whom wore bright pink knitted hats.

 Steinem suggested that the size and energy of today's gathering in Washington was a positive outgrowth of Trump's election and inauguration.

"This is the upside of the downside. This is an outpouring of energy and true democracy like I have never seen in my very long life. It is wide in age, it is deep in diversity," Steinem said.

She praised "our great leaders" Barack and Michelle Obama, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Hillary Clinton "who told the whole world that women's rights are human rights and human rights are women's rights," quoting Clinton's speech at a United Nations conference in 1995.

 Steinem then turned her focus to President Trump.

The new president's "Twitter finger must not become a trigger finger," she said.

Shortly before Steinem took the podium, actress America Ferrera was one of the first speakers at the rally ahead of the march, calling for supporters to "fight, oppose" the Trump administration.

 "Marchers, make no mistake. We are -- every single one of us -- under attack. Our safety and freedoms are on the chopping block," she said.

Some of the homemade signs at the rally were related to Hillary Clinton, Trump's campaign rival. One read "Still With Her" using a play on Clinton's campaign slogan, and another read "Lock Him Up," playing on a chant that some Trump supporters directed at Clinton during the campaign. Several "Stronger Together" posters from the Clinton campaign were spotted as well.

While she wasn't there in person, Clinton gave her support via Twitter.


"We have to get busy folks. We've got our work cut out for us," Moore said.

 The rally and ensuing march come the day after Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States.

The inauguration drew hundreds of thousands of attendees on Friday in spite of wet weather, and today's drier forecast may make the travel to Washington easier for today's marchers.

A number of high-profile speakers are expected to address those at the rally, including Gloria Steinem, Planned Parenthood's president Cecile Roberts, and director Michael Moore.

The demonstration in Washington is one of a series of similar women's marches that are scheduled in major cities across the country and around the world.

Washington, D.C., police are expected to be out in full force, as they were on Friday when some protests against Trump turned violent, leading to the arrest of more than 200 people.

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