ASBURY PARK – One day after President Donald J. Trump took office, thousands of people nationwide held protests and marches to show support for women’s and civil rights. Locally, one was held in Asbury Park where thousands showed up.
Signs, chants, songs and speeches were all seen and heard among thousands of protesters who came out to participate in the Women’s Rights March.
Asbury Park Police provided the head count total at 6,000 marchers who began their mile long trek to the boardwalk after greetings and speeches on Lake Avenue. The headcount was set to match the attendance of the Trenton rally earlier in the day.
There were 60 countries also taking part in the Women’s Rights March.
The protests included the the theme of protective women’s rights in the wake of remarks made during Trump’s presidential run but plans to de-fund Planned Parenthood which was seen as a threat to women’s health. This along with concerns that women,s reproductive rights would also be threatened.
Women’s rights and related issues were not the only concerns addressed in the myriad of signs seen in the sea of marchers. “Black Life Matters” and LGBT community issues were also visible among the signs and chants made.
Among the speakers was US Congressman Frank Pallone who said “This isn’t a Democrat issue or a Republican issue it is an issue of human rights and we all need to remain vigilant.”
There was at least one dissenting voice observed on the borough boardwalk in the form of a man with a bullhorn carrying multiple signs who attempted to heckle the marchers proclaiming that “God was angry with those who are evil” which he directed at the LGBT community and those who are pro-choice. Despite the difference of opinion and a few remarks exchanged the protest remained peaceful throughout the three hour event.
One speaker, who was a member of a local church remarked that in the four years to come, those present at this march should “love the hell out of them” meaning that despite differences in political philosophy, they should maintain a dialogue and make them understand why there is such concern about the loss of human rights as a result of the Trump administration.
Each speaker urged attendees to become involved and engaged by joining either a political action group, community organization or by simply being informed about what is going on concerning human rights issues.