Protesters rally in Washington, D.C., during the latest Women’s March.
Carol Guzy for NPR

Thousands of people gathered Saturday in Washington, D.C., and in hundreds of cities across the country for the fifth Women’s March.

The latest iteration of the protest event — first held the day after President Trump’s 2017 inauguration — comes 17 days before Election Day and as Republican senators move to quickly confirm the president’s third Supreme Court nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

Isabella De Luca, a Trump supporter from New York has a bloodied mouth after a scuffle at the Women’s March in Washington D.C.Carol Guzy for NPR

Women dressed as handmaidens to protest Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.⁠⠀Carol Guzy for NPR

The controversial election-year nomination was a central focus during this year’s events, motivating rallies and marches throughout the day. If confirmed, Barrett would succeed the feminist icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a champion of gender equality during her nearly three decades on the court.

Saturday’s tent-pole event in Washington was permitted for 10,000 attendees. Organizers said that in total, more than 400 events were planned throughout the country.

Protesters in Washington, D.C., are rallying against President Trump and the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.Carol Guzy for NPR

Among the issues are the contentious U.S. presidential election and the nomination to U.S. Supreme Court of Judge Amy Coney Barrett.Carol Guzy for NPR

The Women's March takes place in Washington D.C.

Carol Guzy for NPR

With Election Day just over two weeks away, mobilizing women to vote was a central theme, alongside other women’s rights issues.

In D.C., Sonja Spoo, a reproductive rights activist, said, “Donald Trump is leaving office and there is no choice for him — it is our choice — and we are voting him out come Nov. 3.”

Protestors wore a variety of masks in Washington, D.C.Carol Guzy for NPR

One of the largest events planned for Saturday happened in the nation’s capital, where nearly four years ago hundreds of thousands gathered a day after Trump was sworn in.Article continues after sponsor message

Though smaller than the historic 2017 crowd, women’s rights advocates came in droves.

Participants carried signs blasting President Trump and supporting Democratic opponent Joe Biden and running mate Kamala Harris.

Hundreds of people gathered on Boston Common on for the fourth Women’s March since Donald Trump took office in 2016.Meredith Nierman/WGBH

Brianna Sink of Sunapee, New Hampshire holds a sign while attending the Boston Women’s March.Meredith Nierman/WGBH

A woman wearing leggings featuring former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg scales a fence along the Boston Common.Meredith Nierman/WGBH

Mariah Jacobsen (left) of Pemborke, Mass. and Madison Harakles (right) of Longmeadow, Mass. carry signs at the Boston Women’s March.Meredith Nierman/WGBH

Many marchers were focused on how Amy Coney Barrett and a more conservative Supreme Court could affect abortion rights.

Allison Barnabe, 26, of Ellicott City, Md., told NPR that she is worried that Roe v. Wade could be overturned and that abortion rights may be eroded.

“The fact that I am living in a country now where I am concerned, and I’ve never had to be, is a very scary thought,” Barnabe said.Enlarge this image

Allison Barnabe, at the D.C. rally, said she is worried that Roe v. Wade could be overturned and that abortion rights may be eroded.Sarah McCammon/NPR

Marches also brought crowds past the Supreme Court building. Images of the late Justice Ginsburg appeared throughout the crowd. At least one sign made reference to Ginsburg’s request that the nomination process await the results of the election.

At a rally, Fatima Goss Graves of the National Women’s Law Center called the late justice the “architect of our foundational rights” in the U.S. She also delivered a litany against Trump nominee Barrett, saying this week’s confirmation hearings left her “without a doubt” that Barrett would “undermine our rights.”

Demonstrators gather to take part in the nationwide Women’s March.Carol Guzy for NPR

A pro-life supporter argues with pro-choice advocates in Washington D.C.Carol Guzy for NPR

A demonstrator holds a sign saying Women’s Rights Are Human Rights.Carol Guzy for NPR

“She will undermine our access to reproductive health care, to abortion from voting rights to climate change. She refused to even answer basic questions,” Goss Graves told the crowd.

The Senate Judiciary Committee plans to vote on Barrett’s nomination this week, which if successful, would mean a full floor vote later this month.

Elsewhere, participants in this year’s event confronted anti-abortion-rights protesters — chanting “we have the votes” and “Roe v. Wade has got to go” — gathered at the Supreme Court building.

People participate in the Women's March in Washington DC on Oct. 17, 2020.

Carol Guzy for NPR

Outside of Washington, protesters around the country carried the same messages.

In New York, marchers took to Wall Street, chanting, “Donald Trump has got to go,” ABC News reports.

A march beginning at Philadelphia’s Independence Hall moved toward city hall during the afternoon. Protesters took the opportunity to include racial justice and transgender rights alongside abortion rights during the Philadelphia event, WHYY reports.

Hundreds also turned out in Cleveland, according to WKSU. Speaking before an event there, Ruth Gray of Cleveland’s chapter of the National Congress of Black Women similarly touched on themes of intersectionality.

“We have to address the issues in this country. The ‘isms’ in this country. The systemic racism in this country. The systemic oppression in this country,” Gray said.

Marchers also gathered in downtown Chicago and other major cities.

Sister events weren’t confined to major cities. In Geneva, Ill., a city some 40 miles west of Chicago, dozens gathered in an intersection, holding signs honoring Ginsburg, Northern Public Radio reports.

The Women's March takes place in Washington DC on Oct. 17, 2020.

Carol Guzy for NPR