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Biggest stories of 2017: Women's March was one of Montana's largest political gatherings

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An estimated 10,000 Montanans gathered on the Capitol lawn in January for the Montana Women’s March.

The march took place a day after the inauguration of President Donald Trump. While organizers in Helena said it was a nonpartisan rally in favor of human rights for all, sister marches across the country and world were more forthright in their rebuke of the president, who has been accused of sexual assault by 19 women and criticized for making comments about grabbing women by their genitals.

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The Women's March on Montana drew a crowd of 10,000 in Helena on Jan. 21, 2017.

More than 4 million people are estimated to have participated in women’s marches across the country and the world on Jan. 21.

In Helena, only 2,000 were originally expected to attend. Instead, 10,000 people came out in freezing temperatures with signs in defense of equality, reproductive rights and health care. They also brought attention to the refugee crisis, indigenous rights, LGBTQ rights and environmental issues.

Organizers said 23 buses brought marchers to Helena, and traffic stretched nearly to Townsend.

news; Womens March

Rachel Carroll Rivas, director of the Montana Human Rights Network, speaks at the Women's March on Montana Jan. 21, 2017 in Helena.

Speakers at the march included First Lady Lisa Bullock, U.S. Sen. Jon Tester via phone, and representatives of the ACLU of Montana, Montana Human Rights Network, Planned Parenthood, Soft Landing Missoula, Montana Racial Equity Project and YWCA Helena. Indigenous women and trans women also spoke on the importance of activism and education.

All of the speakers encouraged women and allies to stay involved, seek education and contact legislators. Organizers said they hoped the march would energize people to continue organizing, putting pressure on government and making change.

Historians said the march is one of the largest political gatherings in Montana history. 

news; Womens March

The crowd at the Women's March on Montana fills the snow-covered lawn of the state Capitol building and several nearby streets on Jan. 21, 2017.


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Education / Business Reporter

Education and Business Reporter for The Independent Record.

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