Veronique de Turenne in DTLA
Nobody's putting an official number on the number of marchers who flooded downtown Los Angeles on Saturday, but it was a very big group. And peaceful. The LAPD said there were no arrests made, even though crowds filled several downtown streets most of the day. By mid-morning Metro announced that its trains into downtown were at capacity and additional cars were being added in a hurry. Riders posted on social media about large lines backed up at stations all over the Metro Rail system and about creative workarounds such as boarding headed in the wrong direction in order to get a seat when the train reached the end and turned around. Cellphone service also appeared to crash downtown for a while, based on reports on social media.
Organizers said in their enthusiasm that the size of the crowd had been around 750,000. The LAPD said only that "well past" 100,000 took part and did not try to arrive at a more precise figure, according to the LA Times. It almost surely was the largest street march in Los Angeles since the 2006. The Gran Marcha in March 2006 drew between 500,000 (the LAPD guess) and 1 million (the organizers' version) downtown in a demonstration against an anti-immigrant bill in Congress. That protest and another on May Day that followed Wilshire Boulevard are considered by some to be the largest street demonstrations ever in Los Angeles. [Clarified there were two big marches in 2006.-ed.]
Saturday's crowd quickly filled Pershing Square, the announced starting point, and backed up into Hill Street, the chosen route to City Hall. Lines of marchers streamed off in various directions as the procession kept stopping. “There is a sea of humanity everywhere,” LAPD spokesman Andrew Neiman said in the LAT.
The marches here and around the country were originally intended to express support for womens' rights and concerns about President Donald Trump's personal comments about women. But here and at similarly giant marches in Washington, New York and Chicago, and at relatively smaller demonstrations in cities all across the country, in Canada and in Europe, the rhetoric turned more generally anti-Trump. Much of the vocal calls to action were from Democrats still stung by Hillary Clinton's loss to Trump.
Among the street theater aspects, celebrities marched for the cameras at the Sundance Film Festival and women stationed in Antarctica posed for a social media photo of support. At the Washington march, Michael Moore called on Democrats to turn out their party leaders and start over. Madonna used her time at the microphone (and live airtime on CNN and MSNBC) to deliver a message to anyone who doubts the marches will have any effect: "Fuck you. Fuck you." She also made a stupid crack about blowing up the White House, which could get her a visit from law enforcement. By the way, there were no arrests at the Washington event either.
The organizers in LA had a mission statement that said "We stand together in solidarity for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families — recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country. In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.”
Hand made signs were everywhere and pretty creative. I give the win to this one, first spotted by Barbara Osborn of Supervisor Sheila Kuehl's staff and posted to Twitter by retired CBS News journalist in LA Bruce Rheins. If you don't get the reference, here ya go.
At our Native Intelligence blog, Iris Schneider posted a selection of her images from the downtown march on Saturday. Here's one.
Also from Iris: the women who created all the pink hats in Atwater Village.
At the Here in Malibu blog, Veronique de Turenne posted several photos from DTLA. Here's one.
Some more scenes and social media posts from the day.
Signs of Los Angeles pic.twitter.com/W7DPgY4Uub— Serena Golden (@SerenaEGolden) January 21, 2017
Observer front page, Sunday 22 January 2017: Hundreds of thousands of US women unite to voice defiance over Trump pic.twitter.com/r3KLMP3bBE— The Guardian (@guardian) January 21, 2017