On January 21st 2017 mostly women (but also men, children and those who identify as non-binary) marched in London and other UK cities (organised under the banner of the ‘2017 Women’s Marches’) in solidarity with the ‘Women’s March on Washington’ 20 and 21 January 2017. The call to action and subsequent marches aimed to promote women’s rights including healthcare and education. However, the march on London and I daresay elsewhere morphed into a melting pot of protest for workers rights, climate change, racial abuse, rape culture, and LGBTQ+ abuse. The protests were a mass movement against the election of Donald Trump, who was inaugurated as President of the United States of America on 20 January 2017. Many banners and placards visible at the marches referenced Donald Trump's political platform and many statements he made whilst on the campaign trail and before it. Looming large in the mix was the so called 'locker room' talk tape recordings, in which Trump, vocally advocated systematic sexist behaviours including grabbing women's genitalia and objectification.
International reports indicate that 673 marches took place internationally, with the global number of people taking part estimated to be approximately 2 million. In the UK marches were held in London, Belfast, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, York and Southampton. The London March saw an estimated 100,000 people take part on Saturday 21 January 2017. The route started in Grosvenor Square, looping past the US embassy, and onto Trafalgar Square. Speakers included co-founder of the Women’s Equality Party, Sandi Toksvig, and Labour politician Yvette Cooper. Issues discussed at the rally included women’s, workers and LGBTQ rights, as well as Britain’s decisions to leave the European Union.
We attended the march as a part of our mission to record and document first hand, events that will become a part of the history of the women’s movement tomorrow. In documenting and preserving this 'living History' we were took many photographs, some video but equally importantly we were able to salvage some 60+ placards and banners discarded after the march. The moment we realised that should scoop up as many of the discarded placards was seconds before the bin men closed in as they started their mass clean-up of Trafalgar Square. What a moment that was! This collection of women's words to support the act of marching will form part of a future exhibition...please watch this space.
Enjoy some of what we salvaged below: