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Cheering, clapping and waving signs ranging from the profound to the profane, protesters from all over the Bay Area rallied in San Francisco for the fourth annual Women’s March Saturday.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed, the city’s first female African American mayor, swept onstage to roars of approval from the audience. The mayor said:

“Today is about lifting each other up.” 

The marches began nationwide in January 2017, sparked by the election of President Donald Trump. About 100,000 people attended in San Francisco that year. Subsequent years have seen smaller crowds locally and nationally. No crowd estimate was available at press time for this year’s event.

“Our reproductive health is under attack” by the current administration, as well as transgender rights and other civil liberties, Breed said. The marches focus on a broad spectrum of issues including immigration, pay equity and racial equality.

Like Breed, Eleni Kounalakis, California’ first woman lieutenant governor, got a rockstar reception from the crowd as she took the stage.

Kounalakis, who attended the 2017 San Francisco march, said:

“I stood here in this plaza three years ago feeling broken and devastated.” 

Ching Wong/SFBay A sign is shown on Market Street during the fourth annual Women’s March in San Francisco, Calif., on Saturday, January 18, 2020. (Ching Wong/SFBay.ca)

Kounalakis would later go on to win the lieutenant governorship. She said:

“But as I stood with the women and men who marched in 2017, my spirit was revived. Because of that march, I stood up and declared I was going to run for office.” 

The purpose of the marches is to rally women to political action. Speakers urged women to register and vote. Signups were available at the event.

Crystal Martinez of San Rafael said:

“The centennial anniversary of women’s right to vote is coming up and we need representation.”

Martinez, who chairs the Marin Women’s Commission, carried a bright pink sign that read:

“Girls just want to have FUN-damental rights.” 

Danielle Uribe journeyed to San Francisco from Selma, Calif., for the event. Uribe said:

“Everyone’s voices must be heard.” 

“Truth Hurts,” a song by rapper Lizzo that has become something of a feminist anthem, blared from speakers before the event, and audience members Lindsey Benson and Ashley Crump, both of San Francisco, rocked out to the music.

Benson said:

“It’s important to be here.” 

Women’s marches took place Saturday from San Jose to Pleasanton to Oakland to Walnut Creek and all over the Bay Area. Olive Lind, 10, of Berkeley, attended the Oakland event with her mom.

The 10-year-old said:

“It’s very important to attend these marches.”

“I want to be recognized as a woman and treated equally.”

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