Women's March London: Why we took to the streets

“It feels like everything I stand for is under threat, especially after Trump and Brexit. It’s nice to gather with like-minded people and come together over the issues that are important.” [Photo: Jasmine Jones]

No sooner had Donald Trump assumed the mantle of the White House than millions of protesters took to the streets in women-led marches across the world. From Washington to Tokyo, Cape Town to Dublin, the collective turnout smashed initial predictions making it the largest inaugural protest in history. A global movement.

“I’m 14-years-old. I came out today because I think it’s really important we show we’re against Trump and his ideas. We should stand up for ourselves. Even though he’s not our president I think it’s important we send a message.” [Photo: Jasmine Jones]

The world is wary of Mr Trump, he’s poised and ready to roll back the years on Women’s reproductive rights, his handpicked cabinet of climate change deniers pose a real threat to the future of our planet, oh, and he’s a well documented racist, homophobe and misogynist who thinks it’s okay to “grab” women “by the pus*y”.

Saturday’s protest figures (it’s thought over 1 million people marched) far exceeded Trump’s supporters the previous day. His press secretary, Sean Spicer, lashed out accusing the media of “deliberately false reporting”, claiming Friday’s crowd to be the “largest audience ever to witness an inauguration, period.”

If Trump has a hard time dealing with the truth of a trivial matter such as crowd size how is he going to handle the big stuff like foreign policy, economy, y’know, that sort of thing. What message are we sending out to future generations if we stand by and allow this bewigged man and his team to insult us with their lies?

“I’m out today to show solidarity for women across the world, particularly in America; they’re in a turbulent period of time with a horrible man leading the country. There’s issues with planned parenthood and female rights, it’s important we all come down and show our support. They’re not alone, they’re never alone, I support them, we support them.” [Photo: Jasmine Jones]

So we marched, even before the alternative facts, because we knew they were coming anyway. We marched in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in America. We marched defensively for our human rights, to protect the progress we’ve made and ensure it for future generations. We marched for our brothers and sisters in the middle east; against the rise of Islamophobia and racial intolerance in the wake of Brexit.

We marched for our NHS, disability rights and the legalisation of abortion in Ireland. We marched because meaningful change can only come from below from healthy, informed, optimistic individuals. We marched because we’re united and that’s exactly what they don’t want us to be.

“I’m here with my fiancée and my son to support not just women’s rights but the rights of ethnic minorities and also to make a stand against some of the statements from Donald Trump, because we believe that saying things like that when you’re in that kind of position sets a precedent which shouldn’t be allowed to stand.” [Photo: Jasmine Jones]

Over 100,000 people took to the streets in London, in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington. Over 600 sister rallies took place worldwide; our collective numbers too great to be ignored. Chants of “love trumps hate” and “build bridges not walls” filled the air. Unity, equality and the spirit of democracy the order of the day.

“I’m scared of what Trump means not just for America but the world. The views that he and his cabal espouse, they’re dangerous for people like me and for women; I’m trans, I’m also gay and our rights are going to be eroded.” [Photo: Jasmine Jones]

The feeling on the ground was one of joyful defiance. People brought their children. We celebrated, we commiserated. There was a lot of love. Those feeling frustrated and without agency found solace beyond the blue light of computer screens and clicktivism. We warmed our hearts round the hearth of hope as activists, our message loud and clear: the world is watching Mr Trump, the politics of fear and division have no place in 2017 or beyond.

“I’m here today because I’m American. Trump does not stand as my president, I think he’s a liar, a cheater and a misogynistic pig.” [Photo: Jasmine Jones]

So what next? The movement doesn’t stop here. President Trump feels he’s at “war” with the media, his chief of staff Reince Priebus, has vowed to “fight back tooth and nail every day, and twice on Sunday.” So we must keep the dialogue going to dispel future “alternative facts”, to remind each other we’re not alone, that united we’re powerful.

[Photo: Jasmine Jones]

To keep the good work going the Women’s March team have set up 10 actions in 100 days, starting with a “postcard to your Senators about what matters most to you”. This can easily be interpreted and adjusted for use in any country. The principle is the same everywhere “there is no true peace without justice and equity for all.”

[Photo: Jasmine Jones]

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