Estimates about attendance at nationwide (and worldwide) Women's Marches varied greatly over the weekend, but the general guess was that upwards of 2.5 million people demonstrated against Donald Trump on Saturday. While protests in the United States generally lead to a slew of (often unlawful and unnecessarily violent) arrests, only 4 people were apprehended by law enforcement throughout the overwhelmingly peaceful demonstrations in what is now being called the largest inaugural protest in American history.
CNN noted the shockingly small amount of arrests made around the country but did not provide more details about each incident. It's also possible that the arrests noted by CNN were only tangentially related to the protests at all. Other sites, like NBC and People went as far as saying that no arrests were made (at least in Washington DC) at all.
Whether or not this is a symbol of the triumph of the protest or a symptom of its ineffectiveness will depend largely on your theories about the functions, strategies, and purposes of civil disobedience. Nonetheless, the impressive statistic is forcing some people to think about the racial implications of the marches: would the police have been as hands-off had the protest been more formally associated with #BlackLivesMatter and police violence? Certainly, Trump's new White House statement points to this important contradiction.
The lack of police activity on Saturday can be contrasted with police interactions with protesters on Friday: over 200 people were arrested in Washington DC on inauguration night, with violent protesters choosing to destroy public property as a powerful statement of their discontent and law enforcement responding predictably antagonistically with pepper spray.
[Photo: Getty Images]
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