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As hundreds gather for Womens March to protest Trump and Barretts nomination, dozens expected to rally in support

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Nearly four years after millions of people worldwide protested the first day of President Donald Trump’s tenure, hundreds rallied in Washington, D.C., on Saturday as thousands more joined virtual protests intended to galvanize voters ahead of Election Day.

More than 116,000 people with Women’s March were expected to march or participate in other actions on Saturday, and more than 429 socially distanced and virtual sister marches were expected to take place in all 50 states, according to Women’s March organizers.

“The first Women’s March in 2017 was historic,” Rachel Carmona, executive director of Women’s March, said in a rally before the march Saturday afternoon in Washington, D.C. “Now four years later … with 17 days to go (until the election), we’re going to finish what we started.”

The march in Washington was planned to culminate at the National Mall where organizers hoped to hold a virtual text banking telethon to send 5 million text messages to encourage people to vote. March organizers said they planned to honor the legacy of Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and contest Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to the court, which the Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on Oct. 22.

People rally during the Women's March at Freedom Plaza, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020, in Washington.

“We are the hell and the high water. Donald Trump is leaving office, and there is no choice for him,” Sonja Spoo, director of Reproductive Rights Campaigns at women’s advocacy group UltraViolet, said at the rally. “Come Nov. 3, it will because of women – especially Black, brown and Indigenous women – stepping up and saying enough.”

Women’s March said all participants would be required to wear a mask and social distance and that hand sanitizer would be available. The organization requested that participants not travel to D.C. from states on the district’s quarantine list.

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Meanwhile, the Independent Women’s Forum, a conservative American nonprofit, planned to host its second-annual “March for All Women” counter-protest. This year’s event, called the “I’m With Her!” rally, was expected to take place on the steps of the Supreme Court to support Barrett’s nomination. The in-person rally would be limited to 100 people due to COVID-19 safety measures but would also be livestreamed, according to the forum.

“The Women’s March is a picture of today’s feminist movement. It purports to speak for all women, but it ignores all of the women who reject its extreme progressive agenda,” Carrie Lukas, president of the Independent Women’s Forum, said in a press release. “While all women don’t share her politics, all women can appreciate that Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s achievements represent the progress women have made in America.”

The first Women’s March on Jan. 21, 2017, was the largest single-day protest in U.S. history, according to the Crowd Counting Consortium. That day, the crowd estimator pegged nationwide participation in the 650-plus sister marches at 3.3 million to 5.3 million.

Subsequent marches took place in January of 2018, 2019 and 2020, and attendance was lower than in 2017.

Contributing: Jorge L. Ortiz, USA TODAY

People rally during the Women's March at Freedom Plaza, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020, in Washington.

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