What began as a grassroots project, transformed into an international movement, and reached the Canadian eastern shore on Saturday.
Known as the Women’s March on Washington, Canadians from all over the country joined their American counterparts in protest. Haligonians and Maritimers alike protested in front of Halifax City Hall to show solidarity to stand up for women’s rights.
“The peaceful protest is against the hateful conversation about the devaluation and misogynistic behaviours of Donald Trump towards women,” said Dawn Ferris, the co-chair of the organizing committee.
Men, women, the LGTBQ community, and others from all walks of life joined the demonstration.
Multiple musical performances, a poetry reading by spoken word artist El Jones, and a Mi’kmaq smudging ceremony brought life to the rally.
At first, organizers expected only a few hundred protesters to show up, but according to the Halifax Regional Police, approximately 2,500 to 3,000 people were present at the rally at city hall. Many other Canadian cities joined the movement such as Montreal, Vancouver, Toronto and Ottawa.
“Everywhere around the world – we must stand in solidarity with the American people,” said Katya Zeysig, a Dalhousie student.
Picket signs flooded the downtown Halifax reading: “Love Trumps Hate” and “Tuck Frump,” expressing negative opinions of the newly elected American president.
Ferris explained that women collectively understood the repercussions of a Trump presidency – and were in shock when they awoke the morning of Nov. 9.
President Trump’s presidential campaign caused worldwide uproar and controversy. After demeaning comments regarding women were released during the campaign, people began to express their discontent.
“It’s important for women to stand up in force to show the world misogyny isn’t right and we must move forward – not back,” said Lori Walton, a Halifax resident.
The protest movement began in the states as an idea, with a single Facebook post from an American woman by the name of Teresa Shook. Like thousands of other women, the uncertainty of a Trump presidency inspired her.
In Washington, D.C, the Women’s March on Washington gathered a crowd of over half a million demonstrators. Not only was Washington one American city to protesters gathered in, but Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, and many other cities in America all had their voices heard in demonstration. Worldwide, the march estimated to have gathered protesters in the millions.
“What our main advantage is, is in our numbers – which is something the one percent doesn’t have,” said Suzanne MacNeil, President of Halifax Labour.
It wasn’t without the help of local communities that made Saturday’s protest possible. “Organizations such as the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union, QP Nova Scotia and the Halifax/Dartmouth District Labour Council all donated the funds for the event,” said Ferris.