WASHINGTON - One day after the inauguration of President Donald Trump and unruly protests in the streets of the nation's capital, hundreds of thousands of people descended upon Washington, D.C. in what was a peaceful protest on the new Commander-in-Chief's first day in office.
Early Saturday morning, participants began making their way to the National Mall for the Women's March on Washington, The event started with a rally, which started at 10 am near the U.S. Capitol, and included a packed lineup of speakers and performers. The rally was followed by a march to the White House. The event came together as a result of one Facebook post, and by Saturday, there were sister events planned in cities across the world.
There was speculation as to the exact size of the crowd and its comparison to the size of the crowd for President Donald Trump's inauguration on Friday, but it won't be possible to know exactly how many people took part in either event. The only hard numbers that are available are provided by Metro, based on ridership, but not every person who attended the events would have taken Metro to get there.
As of 11 am Saturday, Metro said ridership had reached 275,000 people, and in a tweet they added that number is eight times more than a normal Saturday and higher than most weekdays. After 4 pm, another update from Metro said ridership had reached 597,000 people for the day. Of course, not every rider on Metro Saturday would have attended the march.
For some, catching a train to the event was more of a challenge. One rider told FOX 5's Paul Wagner she took Metro to the end of her line, and then rode back into the city, a tactic recommended when trying to find a train that's not already full. Photos on social media showed stations like Shady Grove on the Red Line packed with people trying to get downtown for the march early Saturday morning.
Despite the large crowd, there were no reports of any arrests and no major incidents were reported during the march, police and Mayor Muriel Bowser said. D.C. Fire and EMS was busy however, tweeting that as of 5:30 pm, they had handled 149 responses and 281 people had been treated at aid stations around the mall. Of those treated, 32 were transported to local hospitals, but there were no serious injuries.
By midday, crowds packed DC streets and the mall itself. Pennsylvania Avenue, which wasn't on the original march route, was packed. But the protest started and remained peaceful throughout. One woman told FOX 5 she thought this is what a protest should look like: calm, courteous and civil.
A lady just said to me "this is what protesting looks like". Calm, courteous and kind crowds of people. pic.twitter.com/yc1mlIGwyG— Paul Wagner (@Fox5Wagner) January 21, 2017
Speakers and performers at the DC march included Speakers included Michael Moore, Ashley Judd, Madonna, Alicia Keys, Scarlett Johansson, America Ferrara, Amy Schumer, Madonna and Zendaya, among many others. DC Mayor Muriel Bowser was among those who spoke.
"We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children 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," said a statement on the group's official website. Women's groups across the nation and the world joined in and marched in solidarity with the D.C. group.
"I'm definitely for the rights of everyone and want the new administration to remember that all women are equal to men," a woman who identified herself as a social worker told FOX 5's Alexandra Limon.
"I’m here for my children – they’re bi-racial and I want them to be treated equally," another woman told Limon.
Women at the march brandished signs with slogans such as "Women won't back down" and "Less fear more love" and decried Trump's stand on such issues as abortion, health care, gay rights, diversity and climate change. Their message reverberated at demonstrations around the globe, from New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and Los Angeles to Paris, Berlin, London, Prague, Sydney and beyond.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.