- Title: Women plan march in Washington
- Date: 5th December 2016
- Summary: WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES (RECENT) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF WHITE HOUSE
- Embargoed: 20th December 2016 00:32
- Keywords: women Trump Megyn Kelly Hillary Clinton march Washington
- Location: NEW YORK, NEW YORK; MOUNT PLEASANT AND MYRTLE BEACH, SOUTH CAROLINA; BURBANK AND LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA; MANCHESTER, NEW HAMPSHIRE, LAS VEGAS, NEVADA; WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES / INTERNET
- City: NEW YORK, NEW YORK; MOUNT PLEASANT AND MYRTLE BEACH, SOUTH CAROLINA; BURBANK AND LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA; MANCHESTER, NEW HAMPSHIRE, LAS VEGAS, NEVADA; WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES / INTERNET
- Country: USA
- Reuters ID: LVA00D5BLV87B
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: What started as a grandmother in Hawaii organizing a small protest may soon turn into one of the largest demonstrations of its kind in Washington as women worry their rights will be eroded under Donald Trump's presidency.
More than 125,000 women have signed up on Facebook to march in support of women's rights and other civil liberties on Jan. 21, the day after Trump is inaugurated. Sister marches are being arranged in cities including New York, London and Frankfurt. Men are encouraged to join in solidarity.
After a bruising election campaign marked by Trump's comments on women, organizers say they worry his presidency would threaten access to women's healthcare and protection against sexual violence, and roll back aid to struggling mothers.
March supporters say they were galvanized by his insults against high-profile women, as well as by fresh fears the U.S. Supreme Court ruling Roe v. Wade legalizing abortion could be at risk when Trump's appoints the next Supreme Court justice.
And they were outraged when a 2005 video surfaced in which he bragged about kissing women without permission and grabbing their genitals.
Trump apologized for the comments. But the remarks opened wounds for assault victims, and they were followed by several women who accused him of sexually assaulting or harassing them. Trump denied the allegations.
After some criticism the march organizers lacked diversity, the event's mission was expanded to include concerns about racism, xenophobia, and the targeting of Muslims and gay people.
The alt-right movement, which includes neo-Nazis, white supremacists and anti-Semites, has been emboldened by Trump winning the White House. The Southern Poverty Law Center reported a sharp spike in hate crimes following Trump's victory.
"You know, it's it's right in front of you. It's clear as day, and it's sort of like what are we going to do with this information? Are we going to accept it or are we going to change it? And I think that that's why this march has generated so much attention because so many people, you know, they were so upset about what's happening, and they can see the future of our country and the world, and they don't like it. And they want to do something about it. And this is the start. This is where people can begin to get involved and be a part of the change," said march spokeswoman Breanne Butler.
Butler said the route, security and speaker lineup, as well as permitting by the National Parks Service have yet to be finalized.
But that has not deterred many who plan to attend. Hotels in the Washington area have received calls from many prospective marchers, said Solomon Keene, president of the Hotel Association of Washington.
"Doing it on his first day in office seemed very appropriate because we're setting a tone, we're sending a message: Hi we're here all of us, in Washington and around the world and we're watching. We're watching decisions that are being made, and we want change to happen. What's been happening hasn't been working. And so we're trying to make a change for the future. And this is going to be going past the four years or eight years of his term. And yes, this is for whoever is going to be in the House and the Senate and the Supreme Court," Butler said.
She said marchers wanted to spur change in local communities as well as nationally.
"We want to help people realize that yes, you can be a part of a change, and it's not always just sharing a post on Facebook. You know, you can actually influence these decisions because, you know, America was founded on, you know, the people. It's all about the people's voice and making sure that that's heard," Butler said.
The only other similar demonstration in recent memory was at the first inauguration of George W. Bush in 2001, but the several thousand who turned up were focusing on the contested election, not the new president.
Mark Peterson, chair of the Department of Public Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles, who studies mass demonstrations, said logistical challenges, including heightened security during presidential inaugurations, could hamper the women's march.
But the level of anger voiced by many women over Trump's comments, including calling a former Miss Universe "Miss Piggy" and saying women should face punishment for abortions, could drive the demonstration to success.
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