CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Thousands of people, mostly women, marched through uptown Charlotte Saturday morning to raise awareness of women's rights issues and to show solidarity.
The Women's March on Charlotte began at 10 a.m. Saturday in First Ward Park and ended at noon in Romare Bearden Park.
Calla Hales, one of the event organizers, said that the number of participants exceeded estimates by tenfold. Hales said there were initially 500 commitments on Facebook but the number swelled to 5000 Saturday morning.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Major G.M. Smith told WBTV's news partner The Charlotte Observer that the crowd was "at least 10,000."
Organizers say the march is not a protest of Donald Trump's inauguration, but the group's website references the rhetoric of the presidential election cycle which they say "insulted, demonized, and threatened many of us," including women, religious groups, and minorities.
Some marchers, such as Maggie McElwain, are concerned about the country's new president. "He has to respect all people. That includes women, it includes people of color, it includes immigrants, it includes Muslims. We're all going to have to work really hard over the next four years."
"We don't hate Trump," said marcher Jan Harwood. "We just want him to know we're here, and we're watching."
The Charlotte event was held in alignment with the Women's march on Washington and is one of several taking place in cities around the U.S. The Washington march drew hundreds of thousands of participants.
"All of our rights are important and no one is going to take them away," said marcher T. White.
According to the group's statement, the marches "will send a bold message to all levels of government, including but not limited to the incoming presidential administration, that we stand together in solidarity in the belief that women's rights are human rights."
"People of Charlotte are taking a stand and letting their voices be heard," said Hales.