Hundreds of thousands of women, many wearing bright pink hats, marched in Washington on Saturday in a mass show of opposition to US President Donald Trump’s agenda the day after the Republican businessman-turned-politician took office.
The Women’s March on Washington was one of a series of street protests throughout the country and the world against the new president’s often angry, populist rhetoric.
Trump has angered many liberal Americans with comments seen as demeaning to women, Mexicans and Muslims, and worried some abroad with his inaugural vow on Friday to put “America First” in his decision making.
The flood of people on Saturday appeared to be larger than the crowds who turned out the day before to witness Trump’s inauguration on the steps of the US Capitol.
It stressed the city’s Metro subway system, with riders reporting enormous crowds and some end-of-line stations temporarily turning away riders when parking lots filled and platforms became too crowded.
By midday Saturday the protest rally had been peaceful, a sharp contrast to the day before when black-clad anti-establishment activists smashed windows, set vehicles on fire and fought with riot police who responded with stun grenades.
The protests illustrated the depth of the anger in a deeply divided country that is still recovering from the scarring 2016 campaign season. Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton, the first woman nominated for president by a major US party.
Bonnie Norton, 35, and Jefferson Cole, 36, brought their 19-month-old daughter Maren to the march.
“We’re just disturbed by everything Trump wants to do,” Norton said. Cole said he was pleased Friday’s violence had not been repeated.
Thousands of women took to the streets of Sydney, London, Tokyo and other cities in Europe and Asia in “sister marches” against Trump. Women in US cities also protested on the streets.
Although his party now controls both the White House and Congress, Trump faces strong public opposition as he takes office, a period that is typically more of a honeymoon for a new president.
A recent ABC News/Washington Post poll found Trump had the lowest favorability rating of any incoming US president since the 1970s.
In the crowd were well-known figures including Madonna and former US Secretary of State John Kerry, who waved to supporters as his walked his yellow Labrador dog, Ben.
Across town, Trump began his first full day as president at an interfaith prayer service in the Washington National Cathedral. The event is traditionally held the morning after inauguration.
He wrote on Twitter on Saturday that “I am honored to serve you, the great American People, as your 45th President of the United States!” but made no mention of the protests.