women's march

Estimated 250,000 Join Women's March in Chicago

Attendance for the Chicago event more than tripled initial expectations

Hundreds of thousands of people flocked to Chicago to join the Women's March Saturday, one day after the inauguration of President Donald Trump.

Attendance for the Chicago event more than tripled initial expectations, organizers said, to the point where city streets were so flooded, the march itself was canceled. 

At least 75,000 were expected to be part of the event, organizers said early Saturday. But that number grew to roughly 250,000 as groups descended on the rally site at Columbus and Jackson. [[411405935, C]]

The event was said to be the largest women's march outside of the March on Washington, organizers said. 

Chicago's Office of Emergency Management and Communications and Chicago police said organizers transitioned the march into a rally as the city's Grant Park reached capacity.

Still, some demonstrators were seen moving down city streets despite organizers canceling the planned march to Federal Plaza.

Michigan Avenue was closed from Congress Parkway to Randolph Street throughout the rally, officials said. Columbus Drive, Jackson and Van Buren were also closed for demonstrators to exit. [[411409145, C]]

Speakers took to the stage around 10 a.m., sharing their rallying cries as crowds took over Michigan Street, State Street and even Wabash. The rally was met with unseasonably warm temperatures and sunny skies during what is traditionally one of the coldest months in the city. 

The event began with musical performances at 9:15 a.m., followed by dozens of speakers including aldermen, activists and more. Members from the cast of "Hamilton" serenaded the massive, yet peaceful group with their rendition of "Let It Be." [[411413815, C]]

The rally was scheduled to continue until 12:30 p.m. By 1 p.m., authorities said crowds had begun dispersing, roads were reopening and the event had remained "peaceful."

The Chicago rally and march was one of many around the country and the world being held in conjunction with the Women’s March on Washington.

"This march is just one moment in time but it’s a moment that will hopefully ignite a powerful message," said Donna Miller with Planned Parenthood. "Women are taking action and will continue to take action."

The marches nationwide drew hundreds of thousands of people on Saturday, one day after President Donald Trump's inauguration. 

The group noted it was not an anti-Trump event, but that many marchers were marching for political reasons. 

"The incoming administration and president have promised an assault on women’s rights, we are prepared to fight back," said organizer Ann Scholhamer.

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