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To see a related video from Fort Wayne's Women's March downtown, go to www.journalgazette.net/videos
LAS VEGAS – Thousands of people poured into a football stadium in Las Vegas on Sunday, the anniversary of women's marches around the world, to cap off a weekend of global demonstrations that promised to continue building momentum for equality, justice and an end to sexual harassment.
“This is a birthday party for a movement that has only begun to flex its power to change this democracy,” Anna Galland, the executive director of the progressive group moveon.org, told the boisterous crowd.
Following marches that drew huge crowds across the U.S. on Saturday, a year after President Donald Trump's inauguration, protesters gathered Sunday on multiple continents, including in London, Paris, Sydney, Madrid and Buenos Aires.
The events culminated with the Las Vegas rally, which launched an effort to register 1 million voters and target swing states such as Nevada in the U.S. midterm elections later this year, which could shift control of Congress. Organizers said they are planning future events in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Texas.
Paula Beaty, 53, a tech worker from Durham, North Carolina, attended the Las Vegas rally wearing an outfit recalling the women's suffrage movement of the early 20th century. She cited the difference women made in helping Democrat Doug Jones upset conservative Republican Roy Moore for a Senate seat in Alabama in December.
“For us it's all about women's rights and we're seeing them be eroded with Trump in office,” Beaty said. “The women made a difference in Alabama and we're hoping we can flip the House and Senate with the power of women.”
There was also a push for women to not just register as voters, but as candidates. Democratic Idaho state Rep. Paulette Jordan, a member of the Coeur d'Alene Tribe, drew an immense cheer when she told the crowd she was running to be not only Idaho's first female governor, but the first Native American woman to be governor in any state. She implored other women to join her in running for office.
“This is Idaho's future. This is the future of America,” she said.
The demonstrations came at a time of reckoning for many men in Hollywood, the media and other industries as women speak out about sexual misconduct and inequity in general. Among the speakers in Las Vegas was singer and actress Cher.
“This is one of the worst times in our history and that's why I honestly believe that women are going to be the ones that fix it,” Cher told the crowd. “Stay strong and remember if you don't have a vote, you don't have a voice.”
Those who took part in this year's events said they were galvanized by an avalanche of political and gender issues over the past year, as well as the #MeToo movement, which has been credited with countering widespread sexual abuse and misconduct.
Many of the marchers not only supported women's rights, but also denounced Trump's views on issues including immigration, abortion and LGBT rights with colorful signs and even saltier language.
Trump dismissed the suggestion that his presidency has been bad for women. He tweeted Saturday that it was a “perfect day” for women to march to celebrate the “economic success and wealth creation” of his first year in office.