Protesters rally worldwide in solidarity with Washington march

Washington, Jan 21 (IANS) Protesters in the US and around the world joined marches on Saturday to raise awareness of women’s rights and other civil rights they fear could be under threat under Donald Trump’s presidency.

The key focus of the day was the Women’s March on Washington, which organisers said could attract a quarter of a million participants, CNN reported.

But there were also hundreds of “sister marches” planned around the US, with some of the biggest expected in Boston, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.

And women and men in cities around the world — including Sydney, Berlin, London, Paris and Cape Town, South Africa — are also marching in solidarity and in opposition to the values they think Trump represents.

Chants from the crowd included “women united will never be defeated” and “when women’s rights are under attack, what do we do, stand up, fight back.” Some carried banners with messages such as “Girl Power vs. Trump Tower” and “Dump the Trump.”

A group of about 30 Trump supporters also held a rally in Sydney. The police restrained some of them, blocking them from entering the same area as the anti-Trump protest group.

Marchers in Cape Town carried banners with slogans such as “climate change is a women’s issue” and “so over mediocre men running things.” Other African nations to stage women’s march events included Ghana and Malawi.

Big crowds turned out on Saturday in dozens of cities across Europe, with marchers including men, women and children.

Protesters who gathered outside one of Rome’s most famous structures, the Pantheon, carried signs such as “Yes we must” and “Women’s rights are human rights.”

Demonstrators also took to the streets of Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich and other cities in Germany.

Katy Rea, who was at the march in Berlin, told CNN: “There are around 1,000 people. Lots of families, children. Very friendly atmosphere. Some police are present, but it’s tame and relaxed.”

Marches were also planned in cities up and down Britain, from London to Cardiff, Liverpool, Manchester, Belfast and Edinburgh. In London, large crowds joined a march starting outside the US Embassy and ending with a rally in the city’s historic Trafalgar Square.

Women’s rights were not the only issue on the agenda, with placards also bearing slogans to do with Brexit, nuclear weapons, workers’ rights and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan — who before the US presidential election told CNN that Trump’s views of Islam were “ignorant” — posted a tweet encouraging Londoners to join the march and “show how much we value the rights every woman should have.”

In Paris, demonstrators gathered near the iconic Eiffel Tower before marching through the streets waving flags and banners.

Protesters in Barcelona, Spain, chanted “we will not be silent” and “my body, my choice” as they marched. On Friday night, a crowd of predominantly female protesters gathered in Brussels, Belgium, to denounce sexism and protest against Trump.

The Women’s March on Washington comes on the heels of a slew of protests there on Inauguration Day.

The march, which began with a modest Facebook call in the aftermath of the November election, has grown into what could be one of the larger political demonstrations ever seen in the US capital, CNN said.

Many of those taking part are concerned about Trump’s agenda, his past remarks that appeared to demean women and allegations against him of sexual misconduct — which he has denied.

–IANS

ahm/bg

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