The Women's March returned Saturday to Washington and other U.S. cities with the intent of encouraging Americans to vote President Donald Trump out of office and to protest the Supreme Court nomination of conservative Judge Amy Coney Barrett following the death of liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
A counterprotest organized by a conservative women's group also is taking place Saturday at the Supreme Court. The Independent Women's Forum plans an "I'm With Her" rally in support of Barrett's confirmation.
"It's not just enough to say we are going to stop Trump," Women's March executive director Rachel O'Leary said at the beginning of the Washington rally. "It's more to say that we'll have to fulfill the promise of this country to all of us. And it's up to each one of us to inaugurate ourselves, to bring that future to bear. Allow it!"
According to a permit issued by the National Park Service, organizers expected between 6,000 and 10,000 people to gather on Freedom Plaza in Washington for a midday rally, followed by a march to the Supreme Court and ending with a text-banking telethon. March organizers said the goal of the text telethon was to send 5 million text messages encouraging people to vote in the Nov. 3 presidential election.
The Women's March organizers said they were encouraging mask wearing and social distancing because of the pandemic. They also said they were discouraging attendance by people who live in coronavirus hot spots and were asking people around the country to join in local marches instead of traveling long distances.
Hundreds of similar rallies and events were taking place Saturday throughout the country, with some taking place virtually or via car caravan because of the pandemic. One march was also being held at Cornell University in New York state, where Ginsburg attended college.
The march came as Senate Republicans planned to begin voting next week on the confirmation of Barrett, who if confirmed would give the court a 6-3 conservative majority. Democrats have expressed concern that Barrett could vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, a landmark ruling upholding a woman's right to an abortion.
The first women's march was held in 2017, when millions of people rallied to protest the inauguration of Trump. Subsequent marches have since focused on electing more women to local, state and national offices.