[:en]On Saturday 21 January, the day after Trump’s inauguration, Laura de Bonfils and I, alongside millions of women and men in cities around the globe, took part in the Women’s March. While we were marching in a very cold, very sunny London, our friends and family, sisters and brothers marched the world over – in Denver, in Rome, in Brussels, in Paris, Berlin, Cape Town, Accra, Jos, Melbourne, Washington DC, and many more cities. This collective, and global, uprising was convened in protest at what Trump’s incoming administration heralded for the rights of citizens in America – particularly those citizens who have historically suffered oppression – and for what a Trump-led North America could mean for the rest of the world’s population.
Yes, it was a women’s march, but women’s rights are human rights. That is not to say that ‘Women’s March’ was a misnomer – it’s true that the majority, even vast majority of participants in the march in London were women – but it wasn’t a march only for women. London’s march was attended by many men, many boys, as well as women, girls and non-binary and transgender people. This was a theme repeated the world over. For many cisgender women around the world, Trump’s disregard for their right to equality, their right to bodily autonomy and right to live lives free from sexual assault was the final affront that prompted them to rise up in protest. For others, in the States and around the world, it was Trump and his new administration’s track record on the respect of human rights, disregard for global warming and statements about the obsolescence of NATO.
Yes, it was a women’s march, but it was not only that. Men and women were also marching for the rights of Native Americans and global indigenous peoples – such as the Standing Rock Sioux protesting the Dakota Access pipeline; with which the Trump administration has just confirmed they will move ahead. They were protesting for the rights of African Americans to be safe from murder by the police – rights that look sure to be in jeopardy under Trump’s pick for Attorney General, a man who thirty years ago was judged too racist by the Senate to serve as a Federal Judge. They were marching for the rights of LGBTQI people, who were first given cause for concern with Trump’s appointment of Mike Pence as his running mate – a man who has supported conversion therapy and long opposed LGBTQI rights– and then with Trump’s threat and then recent first steps taken to repeal Obamacare. Obamacare, officially titled the Affordable Care Act, protected transgender people from discrimination in accessing healthcare, and also helped cisgender people access healthcare previously unavailable to them.
The mix of signs on the march was testament to this variety. While many referred explicitly to Trump’s headline-grabbing ‘locker room talk’ of last year, statements that gave women (and men) from across the political spectrum pause, many others expressed myriad worries. A great number of protesters and their placards expressed desires for equality for all peoples, many more were held aloft in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, and for the rights of refugees and Muslims in the United States.
Yes, it was a women’s march, but it was also much more than that. It was a protest march, a march in which all kinds of people were able to express their fears for what a future under Trump will hold, and try and hold him to account. It was a march in which people the world over definitively told Trump they are watching, and they don’t like what they see. For the citizens of Europe – who are themselves living in a time of political uncertainty, and are, in parallel with the US, seeing a rise in populism – the marches were an expression of belief in commonly-held values, and a desire to arrest the erosion of civil rights and shrinking of civil spaces in our own countries. As anyone who reads our blogs regularly will know, 2017 (as well as being the first year of Trump’s presidency) is also a year that the European Commission has dedicated to combatting violence against women. While 21 January was but one day of global protest, Europe and its citizens will be continuing their fight for the rights of women and girls to live lives free from violence for the remainder of this year and beyond. As Angela Davis refelcted in her Washington DC speech, “The next 1,459 days of the Trump administration will be 1,459 days of resistance: resistance on the ground, resistance in the classrooms, resistance on the job, resistance in our art and in our music.”