Tens of thousands of women march in call to action

About 65,000 people or more marched in San Francisco Saturday afternoon in the 2018 Women's March to draw women to political action, organizers said. 

The march started at about 1:45 p.m. at Civic Center Plaza and ended at The Embarcadero, a main road on the east side of the city. 

"We had a huge rally, which was amazing," march spokeswoman Martha Shaughnessy, 38, of San Francisco, said. 

The attendance may have been lower than last year when an estimated 100,000 marched, but the 65,000 estimate may be revised upward, Shaughnessy said. 

The Women's Marches began in January 2017 in the wake of the election of President Donald Trump, drawing huge crowds at events across the globe.

The march's co-leader Sophia Andary, 35, of San Francisco, said the march this year was about action in addition to coming out to resist. 

She said if women and others don't take action such as voting and getting involved nothing will change. 

When asked whether she is going to run for office, she said she's not against the idea. 

Three years ago she would have said definitely no. She now is interested in working for others who are running for office. 

Shaughnessy said women marchers were encouraged to register to vote, to commit to voting, to organize locally, to run for office and to get more women running for office.

Speakers at the rally before the march spoke about both national and local issues, which was different from last year when speakers spoke only about national issues. 

Local issues included those coming up for vote in the city's June election, when among other things, San Francisco residents will elect a new mayor. 

Separate marches took place in other Bay Area cities such as Walnut Creek and San Jose and in Oakland where 40,000 to 50,000 people marched peacefully from Lake Merritt to Frank Ogawa Plaza, police said. 

Shaughnessy said this year's march also included talk about the MeToo movement, which has prompted women to call out others who have sexually harassed or sexually assaulted them.

She said the conversation among marchers was about women having more of a voice.

Dezie Woods-Jones, the California president of Black Women Organized for Political Action, this morning issued a statement encouraging black women to participate in the march.

California State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, one of many lawmakers taking part in the marches, said, "Today, I'm proud to once again follow the lead of women as we march in San Francisco and across the country."