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In Washington, Thousands of American women march against Trump as election looms

Washington (AFP) - Thousands of women marched through Washington on Saturday at a now-annual event opposing US President Donald Trump, striking a defiant tone despite falling attendance numbers.

Many protesters said they were horrified at the prospect of Trump winning four more years of power in November's presidential election.

In 2017, more than three million people gathered nationwide the day after Trump's inauguration, but numbers have since declined each year.

A few thousand protesters gathered in Washington's Freedom Plaza close to the White House on Saturday, with other small events in New York and elsewhere.

Kim Elliott, a 40-year-old Washington resident, carried a placard reading, "I am even more outraged than I was three years ago."

"We all knew that Trump was going to be horrible, and he has been even more horrible than we realize," she told AFP, standing next to her seven-year-old daughter who was participating enthusiastically in her first women's march.

They protested despite freezing temperatures and light snowflakes. Many in the crowd wore pink hats in a symbol opposing Trump's demeaning comments about women.

Among the placards were signs reading: "I've seen smarter cabinets at IKEA," and "A woman's place is in the House... and in the Senate."

From the stage, organizers hailed the protesters for their "commitment, zeal, sass and tenacity" to fight on against Trump.

- 'Our voices are strong' -

Lauren Sloniger, a 26-year-old from suburban Washington, used the ironic generational put-down "OK Boomer" on her sign in a reply to Trump's claims that he did "nothing wrong" in the case that has led to his Senate impeachment trial.

She said her message to Trump was, "We see what you did. We are going to call you out on this."

Catherine Stevens, 57, made the long train journey from Boston overnight to attend, saying even many conservatives were shocked at legal attacks on abortion rights under Trump.

"It's even worse that what we thought it would be," she said.

About 2,000 people gathered at two sites in New York, braving more wintery conditions.

The 2020 election "is very much in my mind every day," said Denise Shirley, in her 50s, a regular at the annual marches.

Rebecca Snell, an interior designer and activist for women equality, acknowledged the thinner crowds.

But she said "it is a cold day and it does not matter if its 10 people or 100 people of 1,000 people if our voices are strong and we band together and we are powerful together -- that’s the most important thing."

"There's never been a most important time for women's issues, Roe vs Wade (the Supreme Court decision that effectively legalized abortion) is potentially going to be overturned.

"So no matter who the candidate is that's is going to face Donald Trump, that person is going to have women's issues first and foremost."

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