As hundreds gather for Women’s March to protest Trump and Barrett’s nomination, dozens expected to rally in support

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

Women’s March draws thousands to protest the Supreme Court nominee, Trump in Washington

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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.”

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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.

Womens March returns to protest Trump and Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination

In Washington, D.C., organizers expect between 6,000 and 10,000 people to gather on Freedom Plaza for a midday rally focused on voting rights and calling on Congress to suspend the Supreme Court confirmation process, according to a permit issued by the National Park Service on Wednesday. After the rally, participants will march to the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Capitol.

“Women are going to decide this election,” said Rachel O’Leary Carmona, executive director of the Women’s March. “We are fired up. We are ready to take action. This is a preview of what you’re going to see on November 3rd.”

The march will take place days before Senate Republicans hold their first vote to confirm Barrett to replace liberal leader and feminist icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Her nomination is expected to be approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is scheduled to vote on Oct. 22. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters that the full Senate will begin debate on the nominee on Oct. 23.

Saturday’s Women’s March in D.C. is expected to be one of at least 415 marches and events taking place in person and virtually in cities across the country, O’Leary Carmona said. That’s significantly fewer marches than the first Women’s March in 2017, when millions of people flooded the streets in about 700 marches across the country in a historic demonstration protesting Trump’s inauguration.

But O’Leary Carmona said organizers aim to reach the same number of marches as they did in 2018, when about 500 events were planned nationwide. Among the events planned for Saturday are golf-cart processions, car caravans and a march that will begin at Ginsburg’s college dorm at Cornell University.

Unlike during past years’ marches in the nation’s capital, Women’s March leaders are hoping for a relatively smaller crowd in the District because of social distancing concerns. They are discouraging participants from traveling to D.C. from states that are on the self-quarantine list and are not involved in organizing any buses from other cities. Instead, they encourage supporters to attend local marches or to get involved with its “text-a-thon” efforts, O’Leary Carmona said.

About 2,800 people have indicated on Facebook that they will attend the march in Washington, and more than 11,700 have said they are interested. LED screens will be placed around the area to encourage mask-wearing and social distancing, according to the group’s permit.

Saturday’s rally in Freedom Plaza will feature speakers from the Women’s March organization, the National Women’s Law Center, Planned Parenthood, Black Lives Matter D.C., and a number of other left-leaning feminist organizations. But it will only last about 35 minutes, unlike some of the long rallies of the first few Women’s March events, O’Leary Carmona said. “This is all about the marchers,” she said.

After the rally and march to the Supreme Court, a smaller crowd of about 1,000 people will continue on and march to the Mall for a text-a-thon event to urge women across the country to vote, according to the group’s