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Women's March Crowd Estimated At 300,000

(CBS) -- This year's Women's March in Chicago is estimated at 300,000 -- exceeding last year's crowd of 250,000 people, WBBM Newsradio is reporting.

The event, which kicked off at 11 a.m. today, features music, speeches and, of course, marching, from the park to Chicago's Federal Plaza.

It comes in the wake of the #MeToo movement and Oprah Winfrey's speech at the Golden Globes Awards and other developments in which women have challenged institutionalized discrimination.

The theme of this year's event -- one year after President Trump took office -- is empowering women at the polls. Last year, the 250,000 threshold reached in Chicago was considered impressive and surprising.

An organizer today told participants that number was at least matched this year, WBBM Newsradio's Mike Krauser reports. The crowd estimate had risen to 300,000 by the time marchers stepped off this afternoon.

Chicago police say they do not give out crowd estimates and noted any numbers were calculated by march organizers.

One thousand pink bouquets were handed to some of the participants.

"As I pass out a bouquet, I will be thinking actually of my daughter," says Brittany Graunke of Flowers for Dreams. "She is four, and I am really excited for her to join in marches and for her to have equal opportunity and really get to embrace and celebrate the fact that she's a woman and the world is full of opportunities for her."

Organizers say everyone is welcome. Although this year's theme is centered around future elections, social media indicates people are coming to support a variety of causes, including equal pay, immigration rights and affordable healthcare.

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