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Women's March participants fill Duluth skywalk

Hundreds of people march in Duluth’s Women’s March on Saturday through the skywalk. The event was in response to President Donald Trump’s inauguration and coincided with demonstrations worldwide. Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com1 / 2
Iris Hutchinson, 7, (left) and Lily Griffith carry a handmade “Girls Rule” sign during Saturday’s Women’s March in Duluth. Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com2 / 2

Hundreds of men, women and children filled the downtown skywalk on Saturday morning for Duluth's version of the Women's March.

There was little rancor but plenty of high-spirited determination in the packed downtown walkways, with many wearing T-shirts and waving homemade signs championing their causes.

"We're here to support women and gay rights, the environment, climate change and health care," said Jenny Jensen, 44, who was standing at the far end of the line near the lakeside entrance to the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center with her son, Max, and family friends. Jensen and her entourage arrived at 10:20 a.m. for an event with an announced gathering time of 10:30 and beginning time of 11. She couldn't come close to seeing the front of the line, which by then reached at least as far as the Duluth Curling Club and filled the Skywalk from one side to the other.

By quarter to 11, the march was beginning to move sporadically toward its goal of the Technology Village.

Chants broke out, such as "Love not hate" and "We all do better when we all do better," but were difficult to sustain across the length of the gathering.

Signs carried messages such as "Girls Just Wanna Have Fundamental Human Rights" and "I Walk Today So You'll Start to Listen."

Michelle Pierson of the Chester Park neighborhood was near the front of the line with her husband, Chad, and their daughters Apple, 6, and twins Zoe and Mauren, 10, whom Pierson described as "three good reasons to be here today."

"We thought it was important to stand up and be here to support future women voters," Pierson said. "It's just incredible to see the level of energy here today."

Ruth Dourn, 34, walking with her 4-year-old daughter, Audrey, said she wasn't surprised by the large turnout. "I think there's a lot of Americans that are trying to find a healthy outlet for our frustrations and for our anxieties about how the country might develop over the next four years."

But Jensen said she hadn't expected such a large crowd.

"I was very surprised," she said. "I (was) expecting it to be very small. And it's wonderful that so many people turned out."