Update: Crowds estimated to between 500,000 and 750,000 people poured into downtown Los Angeles this afternoon as part of a series of protests in cities nationwide collectively called the Women’s March in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington. Los Angeles police have estimated closer to 500,000 according to the Los Angeles Times, while organizers of the event cite 750,000 attendees.
News organizations are already calling the Women’s March the largest presidential protest in American history, with CNN estimating at least 2.5 million people worldwide gathering in protest of the policies and goals of President Donald Trump and the Republican Party.
At the flagship demonstration in Washington, D.C., organizers estimated 500,000 showed up, double the 250,000 official estimate of attendees at Donald Trump’s inauguration yesterday. City officials have not released an official tally, but per the Los Angeles Times, prior to the march Homeland Security expected the turnout to exceed the 200,000 estimate in the initial National Park Service Permit. In New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office estimated 400,000 people marched peacefully from near the United Nations, across East 42nd Street and up Fifth Avenue to within a block of Trump Tower at 56th Street.
The L.A. march is said by city officials to be the largest to hit Los Angeles in a decade. The crowds nearly overwhelmed the Los Angeles metro system, with long lines to board packed trains into Downtown’s Pershing Square station, where the demonstration began at 10 AM with a march to City Hall. Demand for LA rail services is so intense that Metro ran extra trains, and commuter train service Metrolink announced it would be running an additional train out of Union Station this afternoon to accommodate passengers traveling to communities outside of the city.
During the demonstration, crowds chanted often-hilarious slogans like “can’t build a wall, hands too small!” Unsurprisingly, many signs referred to Donald Trump’s numerous sexist comments during the Presidential campaign, as well as the infamous hot mic recording in which Trump appeared to brag about committing sexual assault, comments he later insisted were nothing more than “locker room talk” despite the fact that he was nowhere near a locker room at the time he said them.
At City hall, politicians and activist speakers were scheduled to address the crowd. Celebrities who signaled intent to attend the protest included Christina Applegate, Jane Fonda, Kathy Bates, Keegan-Michael Key, Kerry Washington and more. The event is scheduled to continue until around 4:00 PM this afternoon. The New York march wrapped around 7 P.M. ET.