Thousands Rally At the Des Moines Women's March

Jan 21, 2017

Thousands of people rallied at the Iowa Capitol today to voice their support for human rights and women’s rights. The Des Moines Women's March was one of hundreds of similar events that took place across the country.

Like the main women’s march in Washington, D.C., organizers says attendance for the Des Moines March exceeded initial expectations. Organizers had said they were expecting up to 10,000.  Law enforcement officials today said they were not able to estimate the crowd size. 

The rally was planned to take place inside the capitol building, but the number of RSVPs grew so great that activities were moved to the steps outside. 

Credit Clay Masters/IPR

"I'm trying not to get teary-eyed," says Des Moines resident Trinh Le-Coulter, who attended the march with her sister. "We're  both refugees, we came from Vietnam in '95...I'm extremely humbled that this sort of movement, and this sort of gathering is not only allowed, but it's encouraged."

Demonstrators held signs, wore pink hats and chanted.  Attendees say they're concerned human rights, LGBTQ equality, immigration policy, healthcare, affordable housing, education, access to the ballot box, the environment and democracy itself will suffer under a Donald Trump administration.

"I don't care to have some wackadoodle with nuclear control codes," says Denise Krejci of Palo. "The way he became president was maybe legal, but he was not voted in by the majority just the electorate." 

Despite the litany of concerns cited by marchers, the mood was defiant and buoyant. Many say they plan to become more civically involved.

"I thought under Obama we would have better race relations, better woman's rights," says Des Moines Women's March volunteer Peg Armstrong-Gustafson of Waukee. "And then I realized that's not his job, that wasn't his job as president. That was my job and I let it go by the wayside more than I should have. And that's why I'm engaging and being here today."

In addition to the march in Des Moines, marches were also scheduled for Decorah, Dubuque, Iowa City and Harpers Ferry.