CHICAGO – Days after President Donald Trump killed an Iranian general and said he was sending more soldiers to the Middle East, about 100 protesters stood on a pedestrian bridge over Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive with an illuminated sign that read “No War in Iran.”
Some 200 people marched in the bitter cold near Boston, while a few dozen people demonstrated on the steps of Los Angeles City Hall and at similarly sized gatherings across the U.S.
Three years after Trump took office and millions of people swarmed to the Women’s March in Washington and companion marches across the country, these typically modest protests are often the most visible sign of today’s Trump resistance.
Activists say the numbers should not be mistaken for a lack of energy or motivation to vote Trump out of office come November.
The anti-Trump movement of 2020, they say, is more organized and more focused on action. Many people have moved from protesting to knocking on doors for candidates, mailing postcards to voters, advocating for specific causes or running for office.
But the movement that sprung up to oppose Trump’s presidency also is more splintered than it was when pink-hatted protesters flooded Washington the day after his inauguration for what is generally regarded as the largest protest in the city since the Vietnam era. There have been schisms over which presidential candidates to back in 2020, as well as disagreements about race and religion and about whether the march reflected the diversity of the movement. Those divisions linger even as many on the left say they need a united front heading into November’s election.
The disputes led to dueling events in New York City last year, the resignation of some national Women’s March leaders and the disbanding of a group in Washington state.
Organizers expected about 100,000 people across the country to participate in this year’s Women’s March, taking place on Saturday in over 180 cities. Several thousand gathered in Washington, far fewer than the turnout last year, when about 100,000 people held a rally east of the White House.
Instead of a single big event, there were various actions this past week that focused on climate change, immigration and reproductive rights. Those issues appeared most important to Saturday’s protesters in the nation’s capital.
“I teach a lot of immigrant students, and in political times like this I want to make sure I’m using my voice to speak up for them,” said Rochelle McGurn, 30, an elementary school instructor from Burlington, Vermont. “They need to feel like they belong, because they do.”
The week reflects that the movement is “moving into the next stage,” said director Caitlin Breedlove.
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