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Women’s march turnout? Stunning
Thursday, 02 February 2017 17:06

From Staff Reports

The turnout for the Women’s March on Asheville in downtown on Jan. 21 surprised organizers, marchers and law enforcement officials.

The Asheville Police Department estimated the crowd at 7,000 mostly women, with a sizable representation of men and children, but APD officials said it was difficult to give an accurate estimate because people were jammed together so closely. 

Meanwhile, the organizers said about 10,000 people showed up for the rally and march — maybe twice the number expected.

The march constituted the largest assembly Asheville has hosted since 2013, when the city hosted the first Mountain Moral Monday, with an estimated turnout of 10,000. A follow-up MMM event in 2014 drew about 3,500 people.

The Asheville march was held in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington. Attendees told the Daily Planet that they were there to support women’s rights, as well as the rights of people of color, the dispossessed and the poor, among others.

The two-hour event began with an hour-long rally, in which various speakers (including Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer) addressed the throngs from a stage behind the Vance Monument. However, the crowd stretched from the western edge of Pack Square Park (which was closed) to Biltmore Avenue — and beyond. As a result, the public address system was inadequate to enable most of the crowd to hear what was being said.

In a theme echoed by many of the other speakers, Manheimer told the crowd that “the road to equality lays long before us, and on that road we have challenges like income equality, violence against women, protecting a women’s right to choose and, of course, one day, a woman in the White House. Today, we march for tomorrow. Today we right for our future, and we are going to do this together.”

The APD said no complaints or violence related to the event were reported.



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