Hundreds of people demonstrated in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday to protest abortion rights, the second weekend in a row that Californians took to the streets after the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
At a rally outside Federal Court on First Street, speakers urged a crowd of about 200 to a peaceful rally to express their anger and frustration at the rollback of federal abortion rights after 49 years.
The crowd on Broadway marched toward Pershing Square, chanting, “We’re not going back!” and “Women control is what they want; angry women are what they get.” Some protesters held up banners reading “Keep your hands off my body” and “Post Row? Absolutely not.”
The protest was organized by the Southern California chapter of Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights, which also helped coordinate a rally in the Belmont Shore area of Long Beach. The group is also calling for a “national day of action” on July 4 that will include a protest in Venice Beach.
“Standing in the middle or just being pro-choice isn’t good enough anymore,” one speaker told the audience. “We need to advocate for women in other nations…for people who are in abusive relationships, who may not want to have a child with their abuser or rapist.”
Many protesters wore green bands around their heads, necks and arms. Green has become the global color for abortion rights, inspired by the “Green Wave” movement that led to the legalization of abortion in many Latin American countries.
Daniela Estevez, a 21-year-old abortion rights volunteer with Rise Up 4 of Pasadena, said she is collecting messages from women in Mexico, Chile and Argentina who can encourage and advise Americans as they struggle to improve access to abortion. .
“They know what it means to live in a country where abortion on the federal level is illegal,” Estevez said. The goal, she said, was to “build international solidarity”.
Estevez held a cardboard banner that read “Que tiemble el estado,” or “Let the State tremble,” the opening words of a popular song that became an anthem for Latin American women protesting restrictions on femicide and abortion.
Protesters paused on Broadway outside Grand Central Market, people eating tacos and ice cream looked at sidewalk tables while the organizer shrieked with a trumpet, “Make some noise for abortion rights!”
A few diners joined in, clapping and whistling. Others raised their phones to record video.
Sarah Ramos, still holding an Agua Fresca painting, stood up from her table and joined the march with two of her friends. She said they came from Palms for lunch and didn’t know the protest was happening, or that they would stay longer and bring signs. She said the protest seemed appropriate on the Fourth of July weekend.
“It’s hard to think of celebrating this country when I’m so frustrated right now,” Ramos said. “Our mothers really had more rights when they were our age.”