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Mass crowds rally for anti-Trump women's marches across US

Saturday, January 20, 2018

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NEW YORK, United States (AFP) — Protestors took to the streets en masse across the United States Saturday, hoisting anti-Donald Trump placards, banging drums and donning pink caps symbolic of the resistance for a second Women's March opposing the president one year to the day of his inauguration.

By mid-morning hundreds of thousands of marchers had assembled in Washington, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and other cities nationwide, many donning the famous pink knit "pussy hats" — a reference to Trump's videotaped boasts of his license to grope women without repercussions.

Protestors hoisted placards with messages including "Fight like a girl" and "A woman's place is in the White House" and "Elect a clown, expect a circus."

Another took aim at Trump's government: "I've seen smarter cabinets at IKEA," it said, referring to a furniture store with items requiring often-tedious and time-consuming assembly.

In New York a diverse crowd comprised primarily of women descended on Central Park West, the avenue that borders Manhattan's beloved park and finishes at the foot of the Trump International Hotel, part of the magnate-turned-commander-in-chief's real estate empire.

"We live in an alternate universe — it is so bad," said Althea Fusco, 67, who travelled to the city from upstate New York with two neighbours.

"I see an erosion of democracy," she said.

The marches aim to build on the movement launched last year when more than three million people turned out nationwide, voicing opposition to the Republican president's swearing-in.

The weekend of demonstrations have vowed to keep that momentum rolling with the theme "Power to the Polls" -- a message designed to drive national voter registration and maximize women's involvement in the 2018 midterm elections, translating enthusiasm into concrete political action. The president meanwhile posted a deadpan tweet referencing the rallies protesting his policies, urging people to, "get out there and celebrate the historic milestones and unprecedented economic success and wealth creation that has taken place over the last 12 months."

"Beautiful weather all over our great country, a perfect day for all Women to March," he wrote. In Los Angeles throngs of people marched towards City Hall, while protestors rallied in Washington at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial that towers over the capital's sprawling National Mall esplanade — speaking out on a raft of issues ranging from immigrant protections to racial equality to the #MeToo movement against sexual misconduct.

"We feel like our work isn't done and that there's so much more that we need to fix," said Tanaquil Eltson, 14, who also demonstrated in Washington's 2017 march.

"I know the world around me isn't happy colours; it's scary. But I'm excited to be able to fix it," she said, clad in a red and blue Superwoman outfit.

Her mother Vitessa Del Prete, a retired US army lieutenant colonel, pointed to the recent flood of sexual abuse and harassment allegations against powerful men that has galvanized women to fight back against injustice.

"I've lived through decades of sexual harassment issues and it's getting better — but it's nowhere near where it needs to be," the 51-year-old said, sporting a full Wonder Woman costume in coordination with her daughter.

"Issues that face women are just not being represented well enough in our country, so it's a privilege to be able to get out here and try to do something from a citizen standpoint."

More than 300 towns and cities are organizing anniversary marches and rallies.

"We cannot rest," said Pam Morris in Washington. "We have to keep energised until we overcome this administration."

"We cannot get worn down. We have to be here."

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