Women’s march in New York: “We still started to come out of the darkness”

The procession did not fail to boo copiously one of the towers owned by Donald Trump in Manhattan, south of Central Park. It was at the foot of the Trump International Hotel and Tower that the third edition of the Women’s March in New York began this Saturday. The demonstrators, including many women, will do the same a little further on Sixth Avenue in front of the offices of News Corporation, the group that owns Fox News, a channel acquired from Donald Trump and the Republican camp. In addition to the main march in Washington DC, protests were held in many American cities. With a tone still as political as in previous editions, two years after the arrival of Donald Trump to the White House, but this time galvanized by the Democratic and women’s victories of the mid-term elections in November. And the presidential election of 2020, already, in sight.

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“It’s true that it gave me hope, smiles Ashley, who works at a hotel in Albany, the capital of New York State. The midterms have shown that there are plenty of strong women in this country, both to be elected and to elect them. ” A record number of women were elected to Congress in the November parliamentary elections, and Democrats took over the House of Representatives. “Above all, we are starting to have a Congress that looks like us”, welcomes Johana, a young social worker of Mexican origin, “Of all the demonstrations since the election of Trump”, she assures. «Fuck R. Kelly», enjoins his sign on one side, “Protect the girls of color” on the other, with reference to the accusations of pedophilia and sexual assault of which the singer is the object.

Diane, a 61-year-old retiree, came from Connecticut. “All I want is that in 2020, we elect a president, Democrat or Republican, who cares about Americans, and not just his little person”, she advances. Like many demonstrators, she wears a “pussyhat”, these pink caps in the shape of a cat’s head, which have become the symbol of the mobilization of women during the first march, the day after Trump’s inauguration in January 2017. She has also knitted that of Tony, a neighbor who accompanies him, this time in the colors of the Jamaican flag, his country of origin. “Trump made an insult to the word ‘immigrant’, annoys this truck driver. We’re all immigrants here! All this demagoguery, all these fake news, these appeals to low instincts … And during this time, nothing is done, and the government is mired in shutdown. “

New York Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Saturday in New York. (AFP)

Baby sitter

This Saturday marked the twenty-ninth day of the longest shutdown in history, this partial paralysis of the government. More than 800,000 federal employees have been laid off or have to work without being paid, caught in a standoff between Donald Trump and Congress. The second refusing to vote a budget law to finance the wall on the southern border which obsesses the first. In the procession on Saturday, many signs evoke the condition of these employees deprived of salary, or parody Trump as Humpty Dumpty perched on his wall, which he ends up falling if we believe the English rhyme. On Saturday afternoon, the president made proposals – extensions of residence permits and temporary status to around a million migrants who risk being deported from the United States – in return for funding the wall. Even before her speech, House Democratic majority leader Nancy Pelosi had already rejected the offer, which had been stale in the press.

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As with the other editions, the slogans of the third Women’s March cast a wide net. Against sexual harassment and violence against women, for equal pay for men and women or the right to abortion … But also, calls for the dismissal of Trump, for solidarity with migrants, for stronger regulation firearms, the fight against climate change… And with spirit and creativity, as often in American demonstrations – “Obama, are you coming home soon?” The babysitter is weird ”, “I’ve seen smarter cabinets at Ikea.”

Internal divisions

In New York, the organizers expected 100,000 people. But because of internal divisions within the founders of the Women’s March, there were two separate gatherings this Saturday in New York as in other cities. Accusing certain founders of anti-Semitism – one of the co-presidents notably participated in a meeting of the leader of the “Nation of Islam” movement Louis Farrakhan, with regularly anti-Semitic comments – a clan has chosen this year to stand apart. US-Palestinian activist Linda Sarsour, another co-chair, rebuts accusations, assuring organization exists “To fight intolerance and discrimination in all its forms, including homophobia and anti-Semitism”.

“It’s really absurd, I didn’t know where to go, regrets Jordan, a 24-year-old college student, who eventually made his way to the rally in Foley Square, in lower Manhattan. It gave the mobilization a lot of confusion. ” Lucy, a 66-year-old protester, makes an annoyed pout: “What a pity ! These young people managed to create a crazy movement from nothing, and there they are shooting each other. While it’s always the same story: a movement that is divided, it is a movement that is weakening. ” This trainer for teachers, “Feminist activist since always”, nevertheless welcomes the progress of the cause in recent years. «We still started to come out of the darkness. When I was young, sexual harassment was pretty much the norm. But we advance millimeter by millimeter, and above all, we must not just sit there and be satisfied. “

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Isabelle Hanne correspondent in New York



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