‘Welcome to your first day’: Thousands storm Utah State Capitol building after Women’s March
Thousands of Utahns held their own Women’s March and took over the Utah State Capitol on Monday, Jan. 23, the first day of the state’s new legislative session. The crowd took to the streets of Salt Lake City even as it snowed, while holding signs that called for equality, an end to patriarchy, and for President Donald Trump to be impeached.
According to the march’s organizers, they decided to wait until Monday rather than march with the millions of marchers on Saturday, Jan. 21, because “Many of the worst laws for women are made at the state legislative level. On a Saturday, no one would be there at the Capitol to hear us. We will be there Monday so that WE WILL BE HEARD!”
Police told local outlet KUTV they estimated nearly 6,000 people attended Monday’s march. “Noise from the demonstration interrupted legislative business with lawmakers encouraged to speak directly into their microphones in order for debate to be heard over the commotion outside their chamber doors,” the Salt Lake Tribune reported.
Noor Ul-Hassan, spokeswoman for Utah Women Unite told the Salt Lake Tribune, “We will come together even if those men don’t want us to. When you think we don’t have a voice, remember that we raised our voices here.”
Marchers chanted, “We won’t go away, welcome to your first day,” and advocated for an end to sexual violence, the prevention of climate change, and protections of the LGBTQIA community. “With Trump being inaugurated, there’s a lot of fear for women’s rights, immigrant rights, LGBTQ, Muslims,” marcher Megan Stevens told the Salt Lake Tribune. “We’re afraid that our voices aren’t going to be heard and our rights will be given away.”
Just last year, Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed a bill that would require doctors who provide abortions to administer anesthesia at 20 weeks gestation or later. Based on the inconclusive reasoning that a fetus could feel pain, the bill required doctors to sedate people seeking abortions as a means of protecting the fetus from pain.
“I think this is a very important event in terms of bringing people together at this moment to assert that we are not going to go backwards, that we are going to fight for our rights,” said Susan Finlayson, who is a program director for the Wasatch Community Gardens.
See below for photos and video of the march.
— Andrea Harvey (@andrearharvey) January 24, 2017
Here are so more pictures from the Salt Lake Tribune! pic.twitter.com/MavKiyNEBl
— Women’s March Utah (@WomensMarchUtah) January 24, 2017