The 2020 Women’s March brought crowds of people to march through downtown Washington, D.C., to the Supreme Court Saturday during part of a national day of protests. The event is being held by the group that organizes the Women’s March each January.
The first Women’s March came the day after President Donald Trump was sworn into office in 2017. Millions of peaceful protesters, many wearing the now-famous pink hats, flooded D.C. streets. Since then, the Women’s March has become an annual event held each January, but organizers decided to schedule a march for Saturday in the wake of the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the contentious battle over filling her seat.
Crowds arrived at Freedom Plaza with many demonstrators showing how issues dominating the headlines — especially a reinvigorated push for racial justice and Ginsburg’s death — have galvanized interest in the upcoming election.
“It is not hyperbole to say that everything is on the line this November,” said Jenny Lawson of Planned Parenthood Votes.
One sign showed an image of Ginsburg on a pink background and said, “march to honor hear seat.”
Numerous women and girls in the crowd paid tribute to Ginsburg by dressing in black judge’s robes or adorning themselves with lace collars, an accessory the late judge was known for.
A group of women arrived dressed in red cloaks emulating those seen in the Hulu series “The Handmaid’s Tale,” based on Margaret Atwood’s dystopian book about fertile women enslaved by a military dictatorship. Some carried signs calling for Trump and Vice President Mike Pence to be voted out of office.
“We refuse to accept a fascist America,” members of the group chanted.
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NeeNee Taylor, a core organizer for Black Lives Matter DC, spoke in favor of D.C. statehood and defunding the police.
While Women’s March activists spoke out at Freedom Plaza, a counterprotest formed. Demonstrators rallied in support of Amy Coney Barrett, Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, and called their gathering the March for All Women.
“Fill the seat! Fill the seat,” they chanted while holding signs saying “confirm Barrett.”
About 1 p.m., protesters began marching up Pennsylvania Avenue, around the Capitol and past the Supreme Court, where they stopped and a speaker denounced Barrett’s nomination.
The group planned to go to the National Mall, where there will be speeches and a call to action, and where activists will be texting women around the country to urge them to vote.
Although the permit issued for the march listed an estimate 10,000 attendees, organizers expect the actual numbers to be much smaller due to COVID-19. They’re asking people not to travel to D.C. if they live in one of the 31 states that D.C. considers a hot spot.
Mobilizing voters in the upcoming election was another major aim of organizers.
“Our single issue for all of the years has always been building and mobilizing the political power of women,” Women’s March Executive Director Rachel O’Leary Carmona said. “And it’s crystal clear that women are going to decide this election.”
That’s one reason there will be smaller protests across the country in more than 350 cities, including other protests in our region.
“Those are very diverse as well. Some of them are virtual … one is a march from Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s college dorm room to a state capitol; one is a caravan of golf carts,” said O’Leary Carmona.
Organizers and police are aware of groups calling for counter protests.
As for COVID-19 precautions, organizers are requiring masks and social distancing and will provide hand sanitizer stations.