“Show me what democracy looks like,” opened one of the more popular call-and-response chants that rang out across the Women’s March on Washington on Saturday. The crowd would roar in unison: “This is what democracy looks like.”
For those unable to make it to Washington, D.C., for the historic protest, which saw by most estimates roughly half a million people to gather to voice their opposition to the Trump administration and push for equality and women’s rights, here’s what the day looked like—and how it unfolded.
At 10am, when the speeches were scheduled to begin, it was already too crowded to reach the stage, which, due to well-publicized permitting issues, was placed on one of the main streets in Southeast D.C.
Most protesters never heard—or even caught a glimpse of—the speakers at the Women’s March on Washington. Instead, many moved onto the Washington Mall or other parts of the surrounding area.
The turnout was too much for the previously scheduled march route to handle. Instead, the crowd moved in small steps in what felt like every direction, chanting slogans that focused on the day’s core themes of equality and accountability. At some point, it started resembling a march, as people gathered en masse along the same route President Donald Trump used for his inauguration parade. But it wasn’t just one march: It was at least a dozen, as the overflow spilled over onto each new side street.
The Trump International Hotel was a focal point of visceral protest. Choruses of “boos” broke out in between chants of “Shame,” echoing Cersei Lannister’s walk of atonement in Game of Thrones.
A handful of Trump supporters received a police escort down one of the streets near the White House.
For thousands of people, the White House served as the final destination of the day, and many laid their protest signs down at the gate, like wreaths in a cemetery.