Sydney Women’s March: big turnout but ‘it’s not all about Donald Trump

Sydney Women’s March: big turnout but ‘it’s not all about Donald Trump’

Protests should be viewed as anti-hatred, anti-bigotry and anti-misogyny, says journalist Tracey Spicer, emcee of the event

Women's solidarity march in Sydney

About 5,000 women, men and children took to the streets in Sydney on Saturday to champion the cause of women and other groups, whose rights appear threatened by Donald Trump.

There was an uplifting, jubilant and strongly defiant mood at the Women’s March – one of the first of more than 600 protests to occur in cities all over the world on the first day after Trump’s inauguration as US president.

Protesters dressed up, wore slogans on their clothes and bodies, and carried signs calling for the rights of women and other marginalised groups to be respected.

Emceeing the protest, journalist Tracey Spicer said: “Our call will echo through 600 cities in seven continents, with our biggest march in Washington DC attracting almost a quarter of a million people.

“Some might say we’re anti-Tump,” she said, before many in the crowd laughed and shouted, “we are”. “Well may they say that,” Spicer continued, “but it’s not all about him. It’s about the systemic inequalities highlighted by his rise to power. I like to think about these actions – these marches – as anti-hatred, anti-bigotry and anti-misogyny.”

Gathering in Sydney’s Hyde Park, protesters carried signs saying “A woman’s place is in the resistance”, “Feminism is my Trump card,” and “Princesses against patriarchy”.

The organiser, Mindy Freiband, a US citizen now living in Australia, told the Guardian that when she realised she wasn’t going to be able to attend the women’s marches in her home city, New York, she decided to simply start her own event here in Sydney.

“Quite quickly we grew in numbers and we found another group – a local group of young Australian women, who were also keen to march and we merged efforts. Now we have over 30 organisers, over 100 volunteers and are expecting over 3,000 people here today,” Freiband said.

The local organiser Ayebatonye Abrakasa told Guardian Australia she saw the march as an “empowering crusade”.

“It’s bringing women – or all marginalised people, people feeling marginalised and disenfranchised by the current state of affairs – to fight for our rights and to realise we can stand and take action to change things,” Abrakasa said.