Staggering Turnout for Women's March L.A.

by Ross Plesset Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017 at 1:09 PM

At one point, organizers reported a police count of 500,000. Later estimates were significantly higher. Messages on signs included, “See Jane overthrow patriarchy”; “Our descendants are looking back on us” (sign shaped like a pair of eyes); “Life is easier because of my white male privilege. That's not right”; “Stop Tweeting, start listening”; and “Abort Trump.” A number of signs had images of Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia; captions included references to rebellions being founded on hope. Some, including small children, even dressed as Princess Leia. (Additional signs are pictured following this article.)

Staggering Turnout f...
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(Pictured above: a young demonstrator whose shirt says “Sister Witch.” More pix following article.)

Turnouts were high around the country. At the time of this writing, impressive pictures were already posted from Santa Cruz (https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/01/22/18795617.php). In ensuing days, coverage should start appearing on Portland IndyMedia (http://portland.indymedia.org/), where the turnout was huge despite rain, and https://www.indybay.org/ (an impressive march in San Francisco featuring Joan Baez, et al has been reported). As many readers likely know, the Women's March on Washington was covered on Democracy Now! https://www.democracynow.org/.

Here in L.A., numerous participants described difficulty reaching the event due to massive crowds. Subways and light rails were so congested with protesters, it wasn't even possible for people to embark at certain stops. Roads around the March were jammed for miles. People getting rides in cars were simply let out in the middle of streets (without slowing traffic), blocks away from Pershing Square, the ostensible meeting place.

I myself drove part way with the idea of taking the bus the remaining several miles. But parking in my neighborhood was unusually difficult, and I realized why: other participants carrying signs could be seen getting out of parked cars. A few blocks into my journey downtown, I already saw a woman on a bicycle; a sign displayed on her back for traffic to read. The March was already beginning--and this person was engaging directly with the public.

Signs along the march route included, “See Jane overthrow patriarchy”; “Our descendants are looking back on us” (sign shaped like a pair of eyes); “Life is easier because of my white male privilege. That's not right”; “Stop Tweeting, start listening”; and “Abort Trump.” A number of signs had images of Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia; captions included references to rebellions being founded on hope. Some people, including small children, even dressed as Princess Leia. (Additional signs are pictured below this article.)

An airplane flew over the March with a long sign attached, “Congratulations President Trump,” causing many to yell, “Fuck Trump!”

An organizer reported the police estimate of turnout to be 500,000. (Subsequent reports have been even higher, including 750,000 on Rising Up with Sonali: http://www.risingupwithsonali.com/three-quarters-of-a-million-people-showed-up-for-womens-march-in-los-angeles/.) Almost everyone I know was there--activists and non-activists--yet I didn't see so much as a familiar face. (Usually at marches I at least recognize people from previous marches.) I subsequently spoke with other activists and friends who had the same experience: they were hoping to run into friends/acquaintances but never did. There were so many people, it took forever to get around—I completely missed the rally as I tried to negotiate the tarlike human river--yet I didn't feel claustrophobic or restless like I do in traffic jams or long lines--it was exhilarating.

Mainstream media included KTLA 5 and KABC 7.

Often at marches, I feel sad when signs that people put a lot of time, passion, and creativity into are simply discarded at day's end (though I've often saved a few for reuse at weekly vigils). This time, however, many signs were put up on walls, like collages, at very busy areas of downtown. Hopefully these displays will last for at least a few days.