Tens of thousands of people converged Saturday on downtown Atlanta, in what’s believed to be the largest politically-motivated march this city has seen in decades.
Held the day after Donald Trump was inaugurated as the nation’s 45th president, it was one of more than 600 marches held across the globe in support of civil liberties and human rights. The size of the crowd in Atlanta left some gasping. Organizers had initially hoped for between 10,000 and 12,000 people. And as torrential rain soaked metro Atlanta early that morning, no one was sure they’d get close. In what seemed like an omen, organizers seeking to dodge the worst of the storm made the decision to delay the march’s start by a half-hour.
“The direction the country is taking is scaring me and I just wanted to come out and walk with people that had the same mindset that I did and who are just as afraid as I am,” said Elizabeth Brady, 27, a math teacher from Clayton County who joined what turned out to be a 1.7-mile-long mass of humanity waving signs and chanting peacefully for four hours as it moved toward the state Capitol.
Many on Saturday expressed similar concerns, saying they were scared at the direction the country was taking under the new GOP-led Congress and the Trump administration. It was a sentiment on display across the nation and internationally in cities including Paris, London and Madrid — events all timed to show solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington, D.C.
More participants than expected seemed to show up at many of them. In Chicago, media outlets reported that organizers at one point said streets were so crowded with people that they did not think they could march. In D.C., officials estimated turnout at 500,000 — more than double the 200,000 people initially expected to attend..
Back home, Sgt. Warren Pickard, an Atlanta Police Department spokesman, said he had not seen a march like the one here “in my 28-year career.” The size of the crowd was comparable to the city’s annual AJC Peachtree Road Race, an event that draws about 55,000 runners and is believed to be the largest 10k race in the country (and, organizers claim, the world).
As things got underway early Saturday afternoon at the Center for Civil and Human Rights near the city’s downtown Centennial Park, marchers even began celebrating the rain.
Read the complete article at the link above.