Women's Marches Bring Thousands To Washington, D.C., And Cities Nationwide
Updated at 6:08 p.m. ET
Thousands of people gathered Saturday in Washington, D.C., and in hundreds of cities across the country for the fifth Women's March.
The latest iteration of the protest event — first held the day after President Trump's 2017 inauguration — comes 17 days before Election Day and as Republican senators move to quickly confirm the president's third Supreme Court nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett.
The controversial election-year nomination was a central focus during this year's events, motivating rallies and marches throughout the day. If confirmed, Barrett would succeed the feminist icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a champion of gender equality during her nearly three decades on the court.
Saturday's tent-pole event in Washington was permitted for 10,000 attendees. Organizers said that in total, more than 400 events were planned throughout the country.
With Election Day just over two weeks away, mobilizing women to vote was a central theme, alongside other women's rights issues.
In D.C., Sonja Spoo, a reproductive rights activist, said, "Donald Trump is leaving office and there is no choice for him — it is our choice — and we are voting him out come Nov. 3."
One of the largest events planned for Saturday happened in the nation's capital, where nearly four years ago hundreds of thousands gathered a day after Trump was sworn in.
Though smaller than the historic 2017 crowd, women's rights advocates came in droves.
Participants carried signs blasting President Trump and supporting Democratic opponent Joe Biden and running mate Kamala Harris.
Many marchers were focused on how Amy Coney Barrett and a more conservative Supreme Court could affect abortion rights.
Allison Barnabe, 26, of Ellicott City, Md., told NPR that she is worried that Roe v. Wade could be overturned and that abortion rights may be eroded.
"The fact that I am living in a country now where I am concerned, and I've never had to be, is a very scary thought," Barnabe said.
Marches also brought crowds past the Supreme Court building. Images of the late Justice Ginsburg appeared throughout the crowd. At least one sign made reference to Ginsburg's request that the nomination process await the results of the election.
At a rally, Fatima Goss Graves of the National Women's Law Center called the late justice the "architect of our foundational rights" in the U.S. She also delivered a litany against Trump nominee Barrett, saying this week's confirmation hearings left her "without a doubt" that Barrett would "undermine our rights."
"She will undermine our access to reproductive health care, to abortion from voting rights to climate change. She refused to even answer basic questions," Goss Graves told the crowd.
The Senate Judiciary Committee plans to vote on Barrett's nomination this week, which if successful, would mean a full floor vote later this month.
Elsewhere, participants in this year's event confronted anti-abortion-rights protesters — chanting "we have the votes" and "Roe v. Wade has got to go" — gathered at the Supreme Court building.
Outside of Washington, protesters around the country carried the same messages.
In New York, marchers took to Wall Street, chanting, "Donald Trump has got to go," ABC News reports.
A march beginning at Philadelphia's Independence Hall moved toward city hall during the afternoon. Protesters took the opportunity to include racial justice and transgender rights alongside abortion rights during the Philadelphia event, WHYY reports.
Hundreds also turned out in Cleveland, according to WKSU. Speaking before an event there, Ruth Gray of Cleveland's chapter of the National Congress of Black Women similarly touched on themes of intersectionality.
"We have to address the issues in this country. The 'isms' in this country. The systemic racism in this country. The systemic oppression in this country," Gray said.
Marchers also gathered in downtown Chicago and other major cities.
Sister events weren't confined to major cities. In Geneva, Ill., a city some 40 miles west of Chicago, dozens gathered in an intersection, holding signs honoring Ginsburg, Northern Public Radio reports.
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.