Jan. 19 (UPI) -- The 2019 Women's March began Saturday, marking its third annual protest of the Trump presidency.
Thousands of protesters in cities throughout the country rallied in the third year of protests since the inauguration of President Donald Trump on Jan. 20, 2017. The marches, centered on Washington, D.C., have focused on the civil rights of women, minorities and immigrants, among other issues -- particularly in response to Trump, who has been recorded speaking crudely about women and faced accusations of sexual harassment and misconduct.
Some key issues on the agenda for the Women's March ahead of the 2020 elections include violence against women, LGBT rights, immigrant rights, civil rights and environmentalism, according to the organization's website.
Participation early Saturday appeared smaller than in the past, potentially due to fallout from allegations of anti-Semitism made against organizers. A smaller group of women who support Trump gathered in Washington on Saturday for a counter-protest called the March for ALL Women.
Teresa Shook, a Women's March founder, accused organization co-chairs -- Bob Bland, Tamika Mallory, Linda Sarsour and Carmen Perez -- of allowing anti-Semitic, anti-LGBT and racist rhetoric, calling for them to step down in a Facebook post in November.
"They have allowed anti-Semitism, anti- LBGTQIA sentiment and hateful, racist rhetoric to become a part of the platform by their refusal to separate themselves from groups that espouse these racist, hateful beliefs," Shook said in the post. "I call for the current Co-Chairs to step down and to let others lead who can restore faith in the Movement and its original intent."
The march also came amid a snowstorm expected to hit much of the eastern U.S. this weekend and the ongoing partial government shutdown.
"The National Park Service and park police are technically not even allowed to speak with Women's March organizers even though we have a permit," the Women's March organization told NBC News. "Currently, barely two staffers are running an office that usually has up to 15 people working full-time."
Still, Acting Chief of Public Affairs for National Park Service Mike Litterst told NBC News that the shutdown would not prevent the event from happening.
The D.C. event is one of almost 300 marches happening throughout the country, Women's March organizers said.
"It's such a movement, and it's so empowering to be around so many people who are celebrating women and fighting for change," Shannon Lydon, a recent Boston College grad attending the D.C. march told NBC News.
In New York, activists gathered around Central Park and Columbus Circle for the Women's March Alliance, one of two marches in Manhattan. Drummers led the way as protesters followed with signs. The other march was the Women's Unity Rally at Foley Square in lower Manhattan.
In Seattle, many of the protesters carried signs, including "UGH WHERE DO I EVENT START."
In Los Angeles, Sandra McCluskey, of Palm Springs, Calif., she was one of 20 people taking a bus to the march. She has attended all three marches. "I'm tired of the bigotry, racism that comes out of the President's mouth," McCluskey told CNN.