In North Carolina The Women's March Continues In Raleigh

Jan 21, 2017
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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

In addition to the main demonstration in Washington, D.C., there are other marches happening across the country and outside of the United States, Boston, Chicago, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Austin, Seattle, London, Sydney and more. We go now to Raleigh, N.C., where Jess Clark of member station WUNC joins us. Jess, thanks for being with us.

JESS CLARK, BYLINE: Yeah, no problem.

SIMON: What's the day been like in Raleigh?

CLARK: Well, there have been a lot of people here - a lot of people - I would say definitely several thousands. The march started around 10:30 in the morning. And police had planned for it to be a sidewalk march, actually, where the crowds would only take up the sidewalk. But by noon, there were still people filling up all lanes of traffic, pouring into the main Moore Square, filling up that green space. So definitely several thousand people - just a lot of - like, huge crowds.

SIMON: Yeah. And like in substantially larger cities, this is a much larger crowd than, I guess, what local authorities and police officials had been expecting, wasn't it?

CLARK: Yes. Yes. Definitely, yeah. As I said, they planned for just the sidewalk march. And so they hadn't planned to block off - looks like they didn't really plan to block off enough streets. And so you had backed-up traffic. And there was actually buses that were trying to come through to use the bus stop here on one of the main streets. And they couldn't get to the bus stop because there were so many people.

SIMON: Tell us about some of the conversations you've been having, who you've been talking to, what they've been telling you.

CLARK: Yeah. Well, I think there - people are here with a lot of different issues that they care about. And, you know, there's definitely a lot of concern about reproductive rights. I talked to one woman who is a nurse in labor and delivery. And she was there. She had a big sign that had - you know, had the words don't touch my uterus on it and a big drawing of a uterus. And she is very worried about what a Trump administration might mean for reproductive rights and the right for women to choose to have an abortion.

There were also a lot of people that were worried about xenophobia. I talked to a woman named Vivian who is Columbian-American. Her father came over and was undocumented for a while. And she worries about other undocumented people who may have a lot of fear about the election of Donald Trump. So just a wide variety of issues.

SIMON: Jess, I know this puts you on the spot, but why did this march get so much bigger than what people had thought? Any idea based on what you heard from people?

CLARK: Well, I'm not really sure. I mean, I think Facebook, obviously, has, you know, a big reach. But, also, North Carolina has a pretty active protest scene right now. It's a state that has a Republican-led legislature that has enacted a lot of policies that places where you have a lot more Democratic, liberal-leaning populations really take issue with - for example, some of the voting restrictions that were passed in 2013. So there is kind of, like, already a grass-roots, really large, very organized network of people who are already politically active. So I think that might have something to do with it.

SIMON: Jess Clark, reporter for WUNC in Raleigh. Thanks very much for being with us, Jess.

CLARK: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.