Hundreds of thousands of people jam the National Mall for the Women's March in Washington, D.C. on January 21, 2017. The march was organized to protest the hate speech, the hateful rhetoric, the misogyny, the bigotry, the xenophobia of President Donald Trump, who was inaugurated on Friday
Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo
Jan. 21 (UPI) -- Protesters in Washington, D.C., and worldwide gathered Saturday for the Women's March on Washington and other demonstrations following the inauguration of President Donald Trump.
Thousands of people flooded Metro trains and other forms of public transportation and traveled from across the nation to gather outside the White House for the march on Saturday morning. By Saturday afternoon, people packed into common areas wearing pink hats in solidarity.
Women's rights activist Gloria Steinem thanked the crowd for showing up in such large numbers to the demonstration during one of the first speeches of the day, according to ABC News.
"We have people power and we will use it," she said. "This is the upside of the downside. This is an outpouring of energy and true democracy like I have never seen in my very long life. It is wide in age, it is deep in diversity."
She went on to praise leaders such as Barack and Michelle Obama, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton before issuing a word of caution to newly inaugurated President Donald Trump.
"A Twitter finger must not become a trigger finger," she said.
Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, actress Ashley Judd and D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser also spoke along with director Michael Moore who ripped up a newspaper announcing Trump's inauguration.
"We have to get busy folks. We've got our work cut out for us," he said.
Trump's primary opponent in the election, Hillary Clinton, did not attend the march but offered support to the demonstrators on Twitter.
"Thanks for standing, speaking and marching for our values," she said. "Important as ever. I truly believe we're always Stronger Together."
Heavy traffic was also reported coming from Northern Virginia and Maryland into Washington D.C. and multiple parking garages began to fill up as people arrived from surrounding states for the march, according to the Washington Post.
The march, which began as a movement on Facebook, quickly spawned more than 600 "sister marches" in major U.S. cities outside of Washington D.C. and international marches in Sydney, Hong Kong, London, Rome and Paris, according to CNN. Some 2.2 million people were expected to participate worldwide.
Organizers estimated about 5,000 participants Saturday morning in the first major international march in downtown Sydney, Australia. Police said the number of protesters was closer to 3,000, as people chanted "women united will never be defeated" and carried anti-Trump signs supporting women's rights.
"We're not marching as an anti-Trump movement per se, we're marching to protest the hate speech, the hateful rhetoric, the misogyny, the bigotry, the xenophobia and we want to present a united voice with women around the globe," Australian organizer Mindy Freiband said.
More than 25,000 people are expected to gather in London from around the world carrying signs and donning pink hats to advocate for rights for women, migrants and the LGBTQ community and protest the nationalist ideas touted by Trump during his campaign, according to the Guardian.
Nearly 200 protesters gathered outside of the U.S. embassy in Manila an burned a U.S. flag with Trump's face and shouted "Dump Trump," the Philippine Daily Enquirer reported.
"This protest is in solidarity with the American people, because their incoming president is a fascist and a racist who is against immigrants," Renato Reyes Jr. of militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan said. "Trump will uphold the interests of the businessmen, not the people."
Some world leaders offered praise and support for Trump as he was sworn into office, in hopes that he would remain a strong global leader despite nationalist statements.
"With great power comes great responsibility. Confident in global leadership of the USA! Congratulations [Donald Trump]!" President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaite wrote on Twitter.
Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe congratulated Trump on his inauguration and said he hoped to meet with the new U.S. President at the "earliest possible occasion," according to the Straits Times.
"I look forward to working hand in hand with you to ensure peace and prosperity in the Asia Pacific region, and to address various challenges the international community faces," he said.
Others viewed the "America first" message of Trump's inauguration speech as a hostile sign of things to come.
"Hostile inauguration speech. We can't sit around and hope for U.S. support and cooperation," Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt wrote on Twitter. "Europe must take its destiny and security in its own hands."
German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel warned that Trump's highly nationalistic tones resembled "the political rhetoric of the conservatives and reactionaries of the 1920s," according to Deutsche Welle.
"He's really serious about it, and I think we should prepare ourselves," he said.