Thousands rally for second Women's March

Thousands of protesters have turned out across the US for the second Women's March, marking the first anniversary of President Donald Trump's inauguration with rallies aimed at channelling female activism into political gains in elections this year.

The coordinated Saturday rallies in Washington, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and about 250 other cities are a reprise of the mass protests that marked the beginning of Mr Trump's presidency. Sister rallies were also planned in Britain, Japan and other countries.

Mr Trump himself said women should "get out there now to celebrate the historic milestones and unprecedented economic success and wealth creation that has taken place over the last 12 months".

The rallies also come during what has been seen as a pivotal year for women's rights with the #MeToo and #TimesUp social media effort against sexual harassment and abuse that was born out of a string of scandals in Hollywood, Washington and elsewhere.

Many of the protesters wore pink knit "pussy hats", which were created for last year's march as a reference to a comment made by Trump about female genitalia.

The caps quickly became a symbol of women's empowerment and opposition to the new president in the early days of his administration.

Members of the New York Police Department watch people walk down Sixth Avenue
Members of the New York Police Department watch people walk down Sixth Avenue. Photo credit: Reuters

One of the biggest marches is expected in New York, where 37,000 people had signed up on the march's Facebook page.

The number of participants in this year's rallies is likely to fall well short of the estimated 5 million who marched on January 21, 2017, making it one of the largest mass protests in US history.

Organisers want to register 1 million new voters and get more strong advocates for women's rights into office.

Activists say Mr Trump's policies rolling back birth control and equal pay protections have propelled many women into activism for the first time. In Virginia state legislative polls, 11 of the 15 Democrats elected were women.

Reuters