THE WOMEN’S MARCH in Dublin kicked off this afternoon, as protests take place worldwide against the inauguration of the US President Donald Trump.
Crowds gathered in the city centre for 12.30pm today before marching down O’Connell Street to join protesters in London, Barcelona and Helsinki, as well as other planned protests in Galway and Castlebar today.
Participants posted videos and pictures across social media of the event which, by 1.30pm today, seems to have attracted in excess of a few hundred people.
The final turn-out was in its thousands; it’s even been suggested that the march had to be moved to Parnell Square because it was too large to rally at the GPO.
The march here was organised and supported by the Abortion Rights Campaign, Amnesty International Ireland, European Network Against Racism, ROSA & The Coalition to Repeal the 8th.
It is also being supported by groups such as Union of Students in Ireland (USI) and the National Women’s Council of Ireland.
Powered by social media, the “Women’s March on Washington” aims to draw 200,000 people to the US capital, illustrating the divisions of a country whose incoming leader faces levels of public mistrust unseen in recent decades.
Organisers are now saying that the number is closer to 500,000, and the ‘march’ part of the protest has been called off due to safety concerns.
“The Women’s March on Washington will send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world that women’s rights are human rights,” organisers said in a statement.
It is estimated that around 300 similar marches – including the Dublin event – are set to take place across the world today.
In London, a largely female crowd, which also had many men and children, packed a Trafalgar Square rally in solidarity with women-led demonstrations throughout the United States.
“Our Rights Are Not For Grabs – Neither Are We” were among the banners held aloft, along with “We shall overcomb” and “Make bigotry wrong again”.
Hannah Bryant, a 34-year-old museum worker, brought her four-year-old daughter – both of them wearing the bright pink “pussy hats” worn by US demonstrators.
“I’ve been teaching her about equality and prejudice,” she said.
“It’s a feeling of solidarity – not in our name,” said Jill Pickering, a 56-year-old American student. “I’m angry – I didn’t vote for Trump.”
Organisers said 100,000 attended the London march, although there was no independent verification as police do not give an estimate.
In Paris, at least 2,000 people gathered near the Eiffel Tower, holding up banners that read “liberty, equality, solidarity”, in a reference to France’s national motto.
“I am here for women and for all minorities because Trump is a threat to all humanity,” said a US national Kendra Wergin, who is in her mid-30s.
Andreia Rossi, a 39-year-old Brazilian, told AFP she was taking part “because I am a woman, but also because I want to protest against everything Trump represents.”
She added: “It’s very dangerous, he has lied to all those who voted for him, and that can happen in France too.”
Right-wing populists and nationalist groups in France and elsewhere in Europe have been emboldened by Trump’s victory as well as by Britain’s vote last year to leave the European Union.
While Trump won 42% of the women’s vote in the US, many worry that gender rights and other progress on women’s health, contraception and abortion could be chipped away.
‘Make America sane again’
In Barcelona, Rome, Amsterdam and Geneva too, protesters were enraged by Trump’s derogatory remarks on women.
“We are here for women and for human rights,” one of a large contingent of American expatriate women told SkyTG24 news channel in Rome.
“This American says Trump go back to your own planet,” read a placard brandished by a protester.
“We must defend democratic values,” said Karen Olson, who organised the Swiss march, as motorists driving by honked their horns in support.
“When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty,” read a banner held up by a Barcelona protester.
“Make America sane again,” read a banner in Amsterdam.
In Budapest, up to 400 people gathered in solidarity with the Washington marchers.
“Bridges not walls,” read one of their banners, a reference to Trump’s threat to build a wall separating the US from Mexico to stop migrants from entering the country – and to have Mexico pay for it.
In Berlin, hundreds rallied in front of the US embassy, chanting pro-migrant slogans in a nation that welcomed nearly a million people fleeing war and poverty in 2015.
“No hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here,” they cried.
In Prague, protest organiser Johanna Nejedlova branded Trump’s rhetoric “hateful”.
“We want to express our support for values such as democracy, human rights, ecology and women’s rights,” she said.
There were also solidarity marches beyond Europe too, with protests in Johannesburg, South Africa, where marchers held up banners reading “Black lives matter” and “Love trumps hate”.
With reporting from AFP