Longmont resident Amy Hunter came to Denver on Saturday with about 150 people via charter bus to participate in the Women's March on Denver, which organizers estimated drew as many as 200,000 people to Civic Center Park.

Aside from the deep-running concern regarding women's rights that President Donald Trump's ascent to power has provoked in many — an anxiety evident in the signs carried by marchers — what also caught Hunter's eye was the humorous bent to many of the signs.

"It's all very grass roots," Hunter said. "All these signs are homemade. People took a lot of time making them. They are all very heartfelt."

Up to 40,000 people are expected in downtown Denver for today’s Women’s March, held in solidarity with as many as 200 similar events around the
Up to 40,000 people are expected in downtown Denver for today's Women's March, held in solidarity with as many as 200 similar events around the country, the largest taking place in Washington, D.C. (Cliff Grassmick)

Hunter and her fellow Longmont resident Roz Bliss pointed out signs passing by in the street that read "Karma is a nasty woman," "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun(damental rights)" and "When they go low, we go mile high."

"Humor is one of the major facets that's going to get us through the next four years," Hunter said. "Humor binds us all together."

Aside from the ubiquitous "pussy" references and black cat silhouettes — a jab at Trump's taped recorded remarks in 2005 to television host Billy Bush about grabbing women by their genitals without permission — there were plenty of other comedic signs to go around.


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One man carried a sign that read "Save Ferris. Unless he has a preexisting condition or can't afford basic coverage." Another placard featured a uniform- clad Russian President Vladimir Putin hoisting a toddler Trump in a nod to communist-style artwork. Grumpy Cat made at least one sign appearance, flipping the bird and proclaiming "My pussy, my choice, my body, my voice."

During the march, the crowd was packed sidewalk to sidewalk, chanting "Love trumps hate," a favorite since the November election. And while billed as the Women's March, plenty of men and boys took to the streets carrying signs such as "Real men are feminists." Veterans' organizations joined the march as well.

Marches across the U.S. and abroad

The march had a marked anti-Trump sentiment — many people have taken offense at comments the President has made about women — but also targeted conservative opposition to abortion rights and Planned Parenthood, which provides a variety of women's health care services.

Aside from one man bellowing that college professors are "brainwashing elites," behind the stage at the rally that followed the march, there didn't seem to be much in the way of a counter demonstration.

Crowds started pouring into Denver's Civic Center Park under gray skies not long after sunrise, quickly filling the area with vivid color, placards, chants and a range of pent-up emotions that boiled over one day after Trump's inauguration.

The rally officially began at 9:30 a.m. with a 1.3-mile march to "support social justice, human rights and equality, and to demonstrate that we will be vigilant in protecting these rights moving forward," according to organizers.

Protesters begin the march among thousands.Tens of thousands of people participated in the Denver Women’s March around downtown and Civic Center Park
Protesters begin the march among thousands.Tens of thousands of people participated in the Denver Women's March around downtown and Civic Center Park on Saturday morning. For more photos and a video, go to www.dailycamera.com. Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer / January 21, 2017 (Cliff Grassmick)

The march was a spinoff of the Women's March on Washington D.C. and was one of hundreds of similar marches taking place in the United States and abroad.

In Colorado, marches were scheduled in Aspen, Carbondale, Colorado Springs, Durango, Grand Junction and Steamboat Springs.

The Denver Police Department announced on its Twitter account it could not provide accurate numbers as to how many people attended the Denver march and rally, referring questions regarding attendance to organizers.

Crowds of up to 40,000 had been expected to swarm Denver's downtown core But by noon, an organizer on stage estimated the crowd had ballooned to 200,000.

Both RTD and Denver's Light Rail were heavily impacted, with many finding their plans to reach the rally not going nearly as smoothly as they had hoped.

At the downtown Boulder RTD station at 14th and Walnut streets, lines for those waiting to board a bus were reported to be wrapped around the building, twice, as early as 7 a.m.

Parking at one nearby RTD Light Rail station was completely filled by 8:30 a.m., and a line of 40 placard-toting people snaked far from its ticket machine.

Doing it for the granddaughters

Closer to downtown, demonstrators spiraled toward Civic Center Park.. A woman carrying a sign declaring "Don't tread on my uterus" stood in a pay parking lot at Larimer Street and Speer Boulevard, impatiently waiting for her friend to pay.

Denver police increased staffing for the event, and executed rolling closures along the march route, which led east down 15th Street and wrapped back toward the park by way of Champa, Welton and then 14th streets. About 30 short speeches were delivered on the park stage following the march.

Longmont resident Jennifer Paris came to the march with her husband and daughter. She said it was important that her daughter know that it is important to stand up for oneself when disrespected.

"It is also so important to recognize your responsibility to stand up for others when they are being bullied." Paris said. "Dignity stepped out of the oval office with President Obama. I hope Trump recognizes that he needs to grow up and behave."

For Bliss, it was important to march for her three granddaughters. She noted that she had been demoted at her job in 1979 after becoming pregnant.

"I thought that was just the way they did business," she said. "I don't want to see us go back to that.

" We've worked too hard. That's why I'm here. I don't want my little granddaughters to go through that."

 

The Denver Post contributed to this report

John Bear: 303-473-1355, bearj@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/johnbearwithme