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On President Trump's first full day in office, close to 100,000 march in St. Paul

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View of the Women's March crowd in St. Paul from the capitol.
View of the Women's March crowd in St. Paul from the capitol on Jan. 21, 2016.
Courtesy Jenel Farrell

Shortly before 10 a.m. Saturday morning, a bus carrying nearly sixty women opened its doors. A stream of women walked out on the sidewalk, joining thousands of other demonstrators near downtown St. Paul.

Anne Campbell organized the 227 mile bus trip from Bemidji.

"You know we're very passionate about the rights for everybody," said Campbell.  "To be inclusive, to stand up for everybody's rights.  Everybody's really upset about the election. And we just want to make our showing right now, this is just phenomenal." 

Campbell soon became part of a sea of pink hats and poster board signs.  

St. Paul Police say close to 100,000 demonstrators were there. It was a crowd of mostly women, but many men as well. 

Rallies were held in cities and towns across the state including Mankato, Longville, Bemidji, Rochester, Duluth and Grand Marais. And across the country, the demonstrations brought out millions of people.

And all shared in the same message.  As Minneapolis civil rights leader and mayoral candidate Nekima Levy-Pounds put it to the St. Paul crowd.

"What time is it? The time is now! What time is it? The time is now!" called out Levy-Pounds.  "It is time for a change. Women need to be respected and honored. Our civil rights and our human rights need to be continued to be valued and taken to a whole other level."

The crowd filled clogged streets from St. Paul College to the Capitol where speaker after speaker drew attention to the policies and proposals from President Trump and his administration.

Democratic Congresswoman Betty McCollum, just back from Friday's inauguration in Washington, told the crowd she has a message for the new administration.

"Keep you hands off our bodies," shouted McCollum. Keep your hands off our healthcare. Keep your hands off Planned Parenthood."

Her sentiments were echoed by Sarah Stoesz, the CEO of Planned Parenthood for Minnesota and the Dakotas.

"We can't change the results of this last election, but we absolutely, positively will not be bullied into silence," said Stoesz.

Watching many of these women march on the Capitol was Emma Knutson, 13, of Minneapolis, who came to the rally with a group of middle school friends. She wore feminist pins on her jacket.

She's been working on a school project on American feminist Betty Friedan and said she wanted to see up close the feminist movement of today.

"There was so much positive energy because everybody that is here is excited to be here and wants to be here," said Knutson.  "It creates this culture of support and everyone's here to support women's rights."

Knutson said she is worried about changes President Trump could bring, but she was strengthened by the march.

"It's most important that even though Trump is the president we have to not give up our beliefs and still stay who we are and not change which is why I think it's really cool everyone is here," said Knutson. 

Police said it was a well-organized and law abiding demonstration. They made one arrest - a man who tried to disrupt the rally using pepper spray.

Correction (Jan. 23, 2017): An earlier version of this story misspelled Sarah Stoesz' name.