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Tens Of Thousands Attend Women’s March On Madison Saturday

Event Protested First Full Day Of Trump Administration

Laurel White/WPR

Tens of thousands participated in the Women’s March on Madison in the capital Saturday afternoon as similar marches were held in Washington, D.C., and around the world.

Wearing pink hats and carrying signs reading, “Women’s rights are human rights” and “Make America kind again,” protesters marched for causes including women’s health and immigrants’ rights and against the election of President Donald Trump on the first full day of his administration.

“I have a granddaughter, I’m worried about our future generation, what they’ll have to fall back on with the things that could easily be destroyed by this administration,” said Becky Gross, who drove from Oconomowoc for the event.

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Beth Bowen, of Madison, came with her daughter, Olivia Kabbaz, 13, to march up State Street to the steps of the Capitol.

“I’m here for her, for me, for the people before me,” Bowen said.

“Trump was elected president and I don’t agree with most of the things he says,” Kabbaz said. “I see injustice in this world and I want to try to do whatever I can, with all these other people, to try to stand up against that injustice.”

Kabbaz carried a sign reading, “Who run the world: girls.”

The Madison Police Department estimated about 75,000 attended the march and rally. No one was arrested.

Tricia Kuluvar, of Madison, said she attended the march to advocate for the issues of climate change, education and human rights. Kuluvar also participated in the 2011 protests against Act 10 in Madison.

“We didn’t get it right that time,” Kuluvar said of the Act 10 protests. “People have really realized that this is bigger than Wisconsin. Just the sheer amount of women that are here, and young people – I think it’s very promising.”

After the march, the crowd filled the steps of the Capitol Building, spilling out onto the adjacent lawns and down State Street. Protesters listened to more than two hours of rally speakers including politicians, activists and bands called Once a Month and the Raging Grannies.

In introductory remarks, event organizer Chelsea Miller urged participants to continue engaging in activism after the event.

“Don’t let the fire that brought you here burn out,” Miller said.

Other speakers included U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, state Sen. Lena Taylor, state Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa and Madison Mayor Paul Soglin.

“On a Saturday, when you could be doing anything, you’re standing up and fighting back,” Taylor said.

Zamarripa quoted Beyoncé, saying, “OK ladies, now let’s get in formation,” and led the crowd in a chant of “Sí se puede.”

Students read poetry for the crowd and multiple public school teachers took to the microphone as temperatures dipped into the low 40s and a light, misty rain fell.

“Today is a great day to make some history,” said rally speaker Kim Kohlhaas, president of the American Federation of Teachers Wisconsin. “We’re telling our new president and Congress, and we’re telling our elected officials in this building, that we are not going backwards.”

Madison’s march and rally was one of dozens held across the country Saturday, including a flagship event in Washington, D.C., which drew hundreds of thousands.

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