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Women's Marches Take Place Around The Globe After Inauguration

Jan 21, 2017
Originally published on January 21, 2017 5:02 pm
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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

As we mentioned, these women's marches were not just here in the U.S. Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of European capitals as well as major cities in Africa, Asia and Latin America to coincide with the women's march in Washington and other cities in the U.S. NPR's Frank Langfitt attended rallies in London yesterday and today, and he's with us on the line now. Frank, welcome. Thanks so much for joining us.

FRANK LANGFITT, BYLINE: Yeah. No problem.

MARTIN: So what were the crowds like in the British capital and what were people saying about why they were there?

LANGFITT: They were huge. I remember I covered Brexit so that was this huge political issue here during the summer. And these were far larger. You had clearly thousands upon thousands of people starting off at the U.S. Embassy in Grosvenor Square coming all the way down to Trafalgar Square with a lot of speeches. There were women's issues, a real concern about Mr. Trump and the way he's depicted women.

But it was also really clear that the inaugural speech that we heard really, really disturbed people. I was talking to a guy, a software engineer named Dave. And he said he watched the speech with fellow workers, and he watched it in silence. What they described - hearing all that American-first stuff was very sinister. Here's how he put it.

DAVE: It was a somber, quiet - there was silence. It was a harrowing, chilling experience.

MARTIN: So that was kind of a grassroots perspective. What about European leaders? Did you hear a response from them today to this speech? And did they have anything to say about today's demonstrations?

LANGFITT: Initially, when the speech came out, there was sort of the kind of platitudes you usually hear. But I think clearly people are alarmed here in Europe, and that's because, you know, the United States has with Great Britain, and Germany as well, kind of ensured peace in Western Europe really since World War II. And you have a president in the United States talking very, very differently.

I was just looking at an interview with Theresa May. Here's what she says. With the threats we face, it's not the time for less cooperation. It's extraordinary to think that a U.K. prime minister has to say something like this to an American president that, you know, this is not the time, especially with a very aggressive Vladimir Putin in Russia that this isn't a time to abandon NATO. Again, it's been decades that all of these countries have worked very well together to keep the peace here.

MARTIN: That's NPR's Frank Langfitt in London. Frank, thanks so much.

LANGFITT: Happy to do it, Michel. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.