NEW YORK - Women anxious that a Donald Trump presidency in the United States could set back or destroy many of their rights are planning a massive march in Washington one day after he is sworn in, organizers said on Friday.
On Facebook, where the “Women’s March on Washington” is being organized, some 35,000 people said they would attend within the first 24 hours after it was announced, said Bob Bland, an organizer based in New York.
The march comes in response to Trump’s attitudes toward women that emerged during his campaign against Democrat Hillary Clinton, Bland told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
The Republican Trump insulted female reporters, a female political rival and other women over their looks, and a video surfaced in which he could be heard bragging about groping women and making unwanted sexual advances.
The video prompted several women to say publicly that Trump had groped them.
Trump denied their allegations and dismissed his words as “locker room talk.”
During the campaign Trump also said abortion should be largely banned, that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling Roe v Wade legalizing abortion should be overturned and that he would appoint an anti-abortion justice to the nation’s highest court.
He said women who had abortions should be punished, but later retracted this, saying that doctors who perform abortions should be punished.
Bland said plans for the march kicked off on Thursday, two days after Trump won the U.S. presidential election in a widely unexpected victory.
“A lot of women got up the second day with the same idea” for a march on Washington, and they coordinated on social media, she said.
“We need to be working together in a coherent, supportive way over the next four years, to activate more women into leadership positions, to be more politically active,” Bland said. “We cannot allow ourselves to give up, put our heads down and not hold this administration accountable for any violation of human rights or women’s rights.”
The march is being organized state by state, said Fontaine Pearson, 54, a coordinator in Memphis, Tennessee.
“We have a huge groundswell of women,” she said. “This is growing faster than anyone expected.”
The march is planned for Jan. 21, 2017, the day after Trump is to be sworn into office, at Washington, D.C.’s Lincoln Memorial.
The Lincoln Memorial was the site of the famed civil rights march in 1963, when Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech.
(Reporting by Ellen Wulfhorst, Editing by Ros Russell; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, property rights and climate change. Visit http://news.trust.org)