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WASHINGTON – Busloads of Canadians are arriving in Washington, D.C. this morning to join in a massive rally for women’s rights on the first day of the Trump administration.
Roughly 600 travellers, most of them women, made the overnight trek on chartered buses from Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and Windsor, Ont. to participate in what’s being called the Women’s March on Washington.
Others have made their way to the U.S. capital by car or plane, though at least a handful have reportedly been turned away at the border.
The rally, which is expected to draw about 200,000 people, is billed as supporting women’s rights rather than protesting the newly crowned president, who was officially sworn in Friday.
But many Canadian participants say they were spurred to act by Trump’s controversial comments during the election campaign.
Sadaf Jamal, 38, says many people have felt marginalized as a result of the campaign and she wants to help them “stand proud.”
“I’m a Muslim woman and that is why I’m marching, because I want to empower all Muslim women,” she said on a bus from Toronto.
“Why should we be marginalized? … There’s nothing wrong with us. We are talented women, we are courageous women, we can be whatever we want to be.”
A dual Canadian-American citizen, Elizabeth Wolfenden said she cried for hours after Trump was elected.
The 18-year-old, who has many relatives still in the U.S., said she initially planned to march with her mother but decided to make the trip alone after her mother was sidelined by an injury.
The rally, she said, is her first trip alone.
“I just really want to take part in history,” she said.
“I think this will be historical and I want to say that I was there, that I did something, that I tried to make a difference and I let my voice be heard, that I joined a movement that I think is really important.”
Protests are also being held across Canada today in support of the Women’s March on Washington.
Demonstrations have been planned in virtually every major Canadian city as well as many smaller centres.
Organizers say 30 events in all have been organized across Canada, including Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.
There are also hundreds of protest marches organized in more than 30 other countries.
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