WASHINGTON, D.C. — Chants of “love trumps hate,” “my body, my choice” and “the future is female” echoed down Independence Avenue and throughout the country's capitol during the Women’s March on Washington Saturday morning.
Before Saturday, the Metropolitan Police Department and town officials were preparing for around 200,000 participants for the event. But they underestimated the call to action this march instilled in everyday citizens.
From Friday night into Saturday morning, more than 500,000 people flooded into Washington, D.C., according to the New York Daily News, to participate in what would be one of the largest political demonstrations in the capitol’s history.
In that crowd were Elon University students that were able to make the trip up to Washington, D.C., in time for the march.
Senior Ben Bridges was one of those students.
"We are here because we stand for love, we stand for justice, we stand for integrity and equity and we will show up and act out when our government doesn’t stand up for those things," he said.
Students from other universities joined forces with Elon students in the crowd. Wesleyan University freshmen Livia Wallick attended the march, traveling about an hour farther from her Connecticut campus than Elon students who traveled from North Carolina. That willingness to travel is what stood out to Wallick about the people in the crowd.
"There were thousands of people who had travelled hundreds of miles to the capitol to have their voices heard," she said.
The mass of people joining the march from all over the country was so overwhelming that National Guard troops, police officers and civilian volunteers struggled to follow through with their original plan to have an organized march from Independence Avenue and 3rd street to the White House.
Thousands of protestors congested the 11 blocks from Independence and 3rd to Independence and 14th. The more then 1,600 yards between those two points were completely packed with citizens with cat-eared pink hats over their heads and posters, signs and flags in their arms.
Despite the event being named the "Women’s March on Washington," the event represented far more than just that. Issues such as Climate Change, LGBTQ+ rights, Obamacare and Planned Parenthood were all brought up during the march by protestors and organizers alike.
Even though some protestors believed that the march was an anti-Trump demonstration, most participants believed that the purpose of the march was to send a message to the White House. A message saying that no matter drastically the country may be divided, the people stand together.
Elon junior Monique Swirsky, who attended the march, said she thought sending a message to the newly inaugurated president was one of the most important goals of the march.
“It is so important show that Trump is going to have resistance from day one in office to any attempt to violate people's human rights," she said.
The exact numbers of how many people attended the Washington, D.C., march have still not yet been determined, though estimates put the number at about half a million protestors. Even more protestors marched in more than 600 sister marches around the world, in Sydney, Brussels, Berlin, Copenhagen, London, Paris and many other cities.
Other sister marches across the country in Los Angeles, Denver, Saint Paul, Boston, Chicago and New York also saw the success as the Washington, D.C., march.
New York was estimated to have more than 200,000 people attend the march, according to the New York Post. That march ended in front of Trump Tower, with popular slogan “girl power vs. Trump Tower” on signs and lips.
Fiona Riowan, a senior at Barnard College, joined the New York march.
"The sheer number of people that showed up to the march was so unreal," she said. "A lot of the people who came down onto the streets were angry for a lot of reasons, but we were all united by those reasons.”
At the ending of this march and sister marches, the hundreds of thousands of participants made attendees' conviction clear, not only to each other but also to world leaders.
“I hope the march will truly show those in charge we the people’s solidarity,” Wallick said.