homas Watkins and Michael Mathes, AFP
WASHINGTON — More than two million people flooded the streets of Washington and other US cities and demonstrators around the world joined in as women opposed to Donald Trump led a peaceful, stunning rebuke against the new US president. As a sea of protesters brought downtown Washington to a standstill, streaming past the White House in pink “pussyhats,” Trump launched a withering attack on the media, accusing it of downplaying or even lying about the attendance at his swearing-in a day earlier. The new president was certainly aware of the hundreds of thousands of people who poured into Washington and brought the downtown area near the White House and the National Mall to a standstill for hours. Although the US capital does not release crowd counts, organizers of the Women’s March on Washington told AFP they estimated turnout at one million — quadrupling initial expectations — with huge crowds joining sister marches around the country. More than half a million people also swarmed the streets of Los Angeles, according to police there, and a similar number gathered in New York. Other marches took place in Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco, St. Louis, Denver and elsewhere. Roused by fiery speeches, the protesters sent out a resounding message of rebuke and resistance the day after the Republican hardliner took office with a vow to roll back the legacy of his predecessor. “It feels amazing” to join women pushing back against Trump’s divisive, discriminating and threatening rhetoric, said 16-year-old Maria Iman, who traveled to Washington with fellow high school students from Illinois. “I’m part of history and one day will tell my children about this.” A sea of women and men — teens, pensioners, parents with toddlers on their shoulders — swarmed the streets in a determined show of unity. Educator Tanya Gaxiola, 39, who flew in from Tucson, Arizona, expressed concern that Trump will seek to restrict abortion laws and otherwise clamp down on women’s rights. “He’s a narcissist and seeks approval, and this is a big display of disapproval,” Gaxiola said. “Hopefully, it catches his attention.” “Women won’t back down,” “Women’s rights are human rights” and “Thank you Trump — you turned me into an activist,” read some of the thousands of handmade signs held aloft in the capital.