The knitted, pink “pussy” hats are back — at least for the weekend.
More than 120,000 protesters, clusters of which wore the ugly but eye-catching pink hats, gathered in New York and tens of thousands in dozens of other cities across the U.S. for the second Women’s March.
As in 2016’s march, which drew an estimated 2.4 million people in various major cities, anti-Trump sentiment was rife among those taking part in the New York, but with the recent spate of sexual harassment and assault claims against men in film, television and media, what’s now being called the #metoo movement was well represented, along with a range of other social issues, like Black Lives Matter, transgender rights and support for teachers unions.
After police opened up a barricade on 62nd Street and Broadway in order to relieve a massive bottle neck of people trying to get to Central Park, a young woman came upon the main throng of slow-moving protesters with an excited, “This is lit!”
In a city where shoulder checking is a typical part of the daily commute, marchers were nothing if not polite. There was bonding over pins and signs; gentle “excuse me’s” and apologies were heard when a bump or a change of position interfered with someone else. There was no shoving; young children and dogs received deferential space.
“It’s almost hard to figure out what to actually say there’s so much wrong,” a woman said after another woman complimented her large “Where do I start?” pin.
“I think this is saying something,” the woman replied, referring to the march in general.
Signs ranged from pithy to poetic. There was “#FreeMelania,” “Fund the Vaginal Wall,” “The Trump Presidency Is Worse Than the Star Wars Prequels,” “The End of Isolation Marks the Beginning of Power,” “When Men are Oppressed It’s a Tragedy, When Women are Oppressed It’s Tradition.”
The crowd got raucous at points. There were random explosions of whooping and a sing-along broke out when a DJ hired by event organizers played “Sir Duke” by Stevie Wonder, then “Piece of My Heart” by Janis Joplin.
There was a chorus of chanting “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Donald Trump has got to go!” when the march passed outside Trump Tower on Central Park West and a group of roughly 30 women went down to one knee in front of the building, chanting “Take a knee for democracy!” “Dump Trump!” was taken up outside Trump Parc on Central Park South. The News Corp. building on Sixth Avenue, where Fox News is headquartered, got the simple chant of “Shame!”
There were some Trump supporters, too, but very few and only outside the barricades along the main route. One elderly woman held a sign equating the march with Sharia Law. An elderly man next to her to held a sign with “Veterans Before Illegals” and was chanting, alone, “Four more years!” A young woman held a sign reading, “Witch Hunt 2018 — The Witches Are Hunting Now.”