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Tens Of Thousands Take To Streets For Women's March On New York City

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/CBS News/AP) -- President Donald Trump tweeted Saturday that it was a "perfect day" for women to march to celebrate the "economic success and wealth creation" that's happened during his first year in office -- as women across the nation rallied against him and his policies.

"Get out there now to celebrate the historic milestones and unprecedented economic success and wealth creation that has taken place over the last 12 months," the president wrote. "Lowest female unemployment in 18 years!"

But those participating in rallies and marches in the U.S. and around the world Saturday denounced Trump's views on immigration, abortion, LGBT rights, women's rights and more.

Tens of thousands of people hit the streets for the Women's March on New York City.

The protest, which started in front of the Trump International Hotel & Tower by Central Park, was among more than 200 such actions planned for the weekend around the world.

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It was go-time, as the masses of marches stepped up, CBS2's Dave Carlin reported. Looking uptown behind the starting line at Columbus Circle, they were packed in together as far as the eye could see.

"I'm just blown away. I'm touched beyond that everyone is out here supporting," one woman said. 

Feelings at this year's march were strongly influenced by the #MeToo movement, which put a spotlight on sexual assault and harassment and gave strength and support to victims.

"I feel more hopeful, because I feel people are more comfortable speaking up now," said Mia Jenkins, of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.

For many of the kids in the crowd, taking part in something like this was a first. But there were others for whom speaking up was nothing new, including Yoko Ono.

"I think it's great that the guys are here, too," she said. "So I'm saying, peace is power.'" 

For some in the crowd, marching for what they believe in was a long-time tradition and family affair.

"My heart always expands when anyone stands up for the things that are important in life," 81-year-old Patricia Bowen, of Danberry, Connecticut, said.

She told Carlin she marched for the Equal Rights Amendment at the close of the 1970s with her daughter, Ellen, who was 12 years old then. She was at her mom's side once again Saturday.

"We're still here again. It's sad but it's also invigorating to be here – you know the hope," she said. 

"I'd be lying if I said that I'm not dispirited and discouraged over having to march yet again to register our opposition to this disastrous first year of the Trump presidency," said Peggy Taylor, a New York City tour guide and Manhattan resident.

She said that last year, she felt "a kind of euphoria" walking through the city with hundreds of thousands of participants.

This year, "the hard reality of what lies ahead of us has sunk in," she said. "I know that we have a long slog ahead of us to undo the damage that this man has inflicted." 

Another woman named Elizabeth, carrying a sign that said 'still persisiting,' told WCBS 880's Ethan Harp she also marched last year.

"They showed that people weren't happy with the way things were. And this year's marchers are saying we're still not happy," she said. "We haven't gone anywhere."

The 2017 rally in Washington, D.C., and hundreds of similar marches created solidarity for those denouncing Trump's views on a litany of issues. Afterward, a wave of women decided to run for elected office and the #MeToo movement against sexual misconduct became a cultural phenomenon. 

Among the goals of this year's march are getting more Democrats to run for public office and bolstering voter registration.

Chirlane McCray said Saturday's march was more than just an anti-Trump rally.

"This is about us showing that we are out here to protect the values of our constitution," she told 1010 WINS' Carol D'Auria. "To honor the rights, to respect the rights of so many people. Mexicans, immigrants, Haitians, Africans."

"We've got to stand up to the attacks on women that are occurring all over our country," said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Actress Rosie Perez and Harvey Weinstein accuser Annabella Sciorra welcomed the crowd.

"There is no difference," said Perez.  

The scheduled speakers included Ashley Bennett, a Democrat who was elected Atlantic County, New Jersey freeholder last November. Bennett defeated Republican incumbent John Carman, who had mocked the 2017 women's march in Washington, D.C. with a Facebook post asking whether the women would be home in time to cook dinner.

The record crowds seen last year, however, are not expected this year, CBS News' Paula Reid reports. Organizers say they're not focused on crowd size; they're focused on winning elections.

Following a march in Morristown, New Jersey, First Lady Tammy Murphy silenced the crowd gathered on Morristown Green as she publicly joined the #MeToo movement. She opened up about how she had been the victim of sexual violence while a sophomore in college.

Murphy said while walking one night, a man grabbed her and pulled her into the bushes and attacked her. She said this was the first time she's shared her story publicly.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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