Women planning mass march on Washington when Trump takes office

A group of women demonstrators block police motorcycles as they take over the Hollywood 101 Freeway in protest against the election of Republican Donald Trump as President of the United States in Los Angeles, California, U.S. November 9, 2016 REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon

Women anxious that a Donald Trump presidency in the United States could set back or destroy many of their rights are planning a massive march in Washington one day after he is sworn in, organisers said on Friday.

On Facebook, where the “Million Women March” is being organised, some 35,000 people said they would attend within the first 24 hours after it was announced, said Bob Bland, an organiser based in New York.

The march comes in response to Trump’s attitudes toward women that emerged during his campaign against Democrat Hillary Clinton, Bland told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The Republican Trump insulted female reporters, a female political rival and other women over their looks, and a video surfaced in which he could be heard bragging about groping women and making unwanted sexual advances.

The video prompted several women to say publicly that Trump had groped them. Trump denied their allegations and dismissed his words as “locker room talk.”

During the campaign Trump also said abortion should be largely banned, that the US Supreme Court ruling Roe v Wade legalising abortion should be overturned and that he would appoint an anti-abortion justice to the nation’s highest court.

READ MORE: Protests rumble on as Trump shakes up transition team

He said women who had abortions should be punished, but later retracted this, saying that doctors who perform abortions should be punished. Bland said plans for the march kicked off on Thursday, two days after Trump won the US presidential election in a widely unexpected victory.

“A lot of women got up the second day with the same idea” for a march on Washington, and they coordinated on social media, she said.

“We need to be working together in a coherent, supportive way over the next four years, to activate more women into leadership positions, to be more politically active,” Bland said. “We cannot allow ourselves to give up, put our heads down and not hold this administration accountable for any violation of human rights or women’s rights.”

The march is being organised state by state, said Fontaine Pearson, 54, a coordinator in Memphis, Tennessee. “We have a huge groundswell of women,” she said. “This is growing faster than anyone expected.”

The march is planned for January 21, 2017, the day after Trump is to be sworn into office, at Washington, DC’s Lincoln Memorial. The Lincoln Memorial was the site of the famed civil rights march in 1963, when Martin Luther King Junior delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech.