Hundreds of thousands ofÂ demonstratorsÂ on Saturday packed the streets of U.S. cities from Los Angeles to Boston, donning their pink hats beneath palm trees and falling snow, and spilling so far beyond capacity in some places that authorities were forced to transform planned Womenâ€™s Marches into standing rallies.
With their chants, signs and banners for womenâ€™s and minority rights â€” in many cases, phrased as direct challengesÂ to President Trump â€” activists said Saturdayâ€™s marches formedÂ theÂ largestÂ wave of opposition toÂ a newÂ president in modern American history.
â€œThe country is really fired up,â€? said Kate Lagreca, one of the organizers in Boston, where she said an estimated 125,000 people showed upâ€“45,000 more than they were expecting. â€œWe are sending a message to politicians. Iâ€™m really glad that at a grassroots level we got hundreds of thousands of people involved.â€?
Organizers said aÂ quarter million people showed up inÂ ChicagoÂ alone, forcingÂ authorities to transform a planned march through the Windy City into a standing rally, afterÂ a downtown park reached its overflow point. (Thousands kept marching past the park anyway.) In Los Angeles, a police spokesman said authorities had to temporarily shut downÂ additional side streets after the crowds swelled beyond the spaceÂ available for the planned downtown march. And in Juneau, Alaska, an observer marveled that the crowd was the biggest he had ever seen on the state Capitolâ€™s steps.
â€œStaying home was not an option,â€? said Suze Anderson, 41, who marched in Chicago. â€œWe canâ€™t let Trump think anything about his presidency is normal.â€?
Like the Womenâ€™s Marchers in Washington, demonstrators across the country hoisted signs in support of womenâ€™s, immigrant and LGBTQ rights, Planned Parenthood, Black Lives Matter, wage equality and environmental protection â€” all causesÂ that Trump has appeared to oppose. They protested against gun violence, bigotry, discrimination and sexual assault. They lambasted Trumpâ€™s rhetoric and turned it against him.
â€œThis Mexican pussy grabs back!â€? read a sign spotted on the New York City subway. â€œSad!â€? read a one-word sign in St. Louis.
Self-identification as a â€œnasty womanâ€? â€” words Trump used to describe Hillary Clinton â€” was everywhere. So were images of uteri and fallopian tubes.
The Womenâ€™s March on Washington website listedÂ 673 planned marches around the world, including hundreds in cities and towns acrossÂ the United States that ranged from major metropolises like Los Angeles and Chicago to tinyÂ towns like Lander, Wyo., and Stanley, Idaho.
They includedÂ nearly 50 marches in California alone, and 18 planned in Alaska, where temperatures in some places hoveredÂ atÂ 15 degrees below zero. In Las Vegas, they marched past palm trees and casinos. In Idaho, they marched through falling snow. In Jackson, Miss., it was warm enough that families and children sported T-shirts. There were four marches in the U.S.Â territory of Puerto Rico.
As they rallied, many of the marchers took to social media, apparently amazed by the sheer numbers that turned out in their cities and towns, particularly in states like Kentucky and Idaho that voted for Trump, and in tiny towns like Marfa, Texas and Brookings, Oregon that rarely muster protests.
â€œThe #WomensMarch in Juneau is the biggest demonstration Iâ€™ve ever seen on Alaskaâ€™s Capitol steps,â€? tweeted Austin Baird in Juneau.
â€œWOMENS march on Idaho. #wow,â€? tweeted Melissa Wintrow in Boise.
â€” Larry Ryckman (@larryryckman) January 21, 2017
â€” Tara Skurtu (@TaraSkurtu) January 21, 2017
â€” Antonio French (@AntonioFrench) January 21, 2017
â€” Melissa Wintrow (@wintrow4idaho) January 21, 2017
â€” Khaled Beydoun (@KhaledBeydoun) January 21, 2017
In Chicago, a police spokesman said the cityâ€™s Grant ParkÂ had reached capacity by noon, so authorities â€œtransitioned to a support rally,â€? saidÂ Officer Jose Estrada.
Capt. Andrew Neiman of the Los Angeles Police Department said:Â â€œWe are doing our best to facilitate because they are squeezing into every street right now.â€?
Despite the size of the crowds, authorities said the protests were proceedingÂ peacefully.
In Birmingham, Ala., where immigrants rights groups and NAACP leaders were addressing the crowd, march organizer Shante Wolfe-Sisson listed the demonstrationâ€™s priorities toÂ a local television station. â€œWe stand for unity, we stand for reproductive rights, we stand for equal access to resources for those who may be HIV positive, for those who may need access to other resources that today we are currently trying to tell our legislators are relevant for women,â€? Wolfe-Sisson said.
A group of women in St. Louis marched through 60 degree weather with their protest slogans scrawled across their shirtless torsos.Â In Las Vegas, they carried rainbow flags and â€œnasty women fight backâ€? signs past palm trees and casinos.
Celebrities showed up in marches outside ofÂ Washington, too.Â Actor Charlize Theron and comedian Chelsea Handler led the march in Park City, Utah, where actors have gathered for the Sundance Film Festival. Actor Rowan Blanchard addressed the marchers in Los Angeles, andÂ Seth Rogan tweeted from the crowd in New Orleans.
FederalÂ and local lawmakers includingÂ Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.) and Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Al Green (D-Tex.) also showed up inÂ pictures on social media.
Hundreds of women (and men) prepare to march for women's rights at Nashville's Cumberland Park pic.twitter.com/QivGHewVgq
â€” Ryan Smith WSMV (@RyanSmithWSMV) January 21, 2017
â€” Kelcie Pegher (@klcpegher) January 21, 2017
â€” Nicole Barnes (@nicolebarnesNC) January 21, 2017
â€” Paul SpeirsHernandez (@paulspeirslv) January 21, 2017
â€” Brenna (@bee_yes) January 21, 2017
â€” Curtis Sittenfeld (@csittenfeld) January 21, 2017
â€” Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) January 21, 2017
The Womenâ€™s March on Washington websiteÂ estimated that attendance of marches outside Washington would top 2.5 million.
For those who couldnâ€™t make it out into the streets, march organizers promoted the online Disability March.
Herman Wong in Washington D.C. and Mark Guarino in Chicago contributed to this report.