- Associated Press - Saturday, January 21, 2017

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Marches and rallies organized by women against President Donald Trump and attacks on women’s rights brought bigger crowds than expected across North Carolina as tens of thousands of protesters came to the biggest cities across the state.

Authorities estimated more than 10,000 people in Charlotte and Raleigh for protests that police expected to be half that size. Officers had to block extra streets to accommodate the crowds.

“This is the first time I’ve so strongly seen this kind of support of diversity for all people here,” marcher Gina Stewart, 55, told The Charlotte Observer.

Several thousand people showed up at separate rallies in Greensboro, Wilmington and Asheville. The demonstrations have been generally organized by liberal-leaning women and representatives of groups promoting agendas around government health care, labor rights, gay rights and abortion rights.

Marchers in Charlotte held up signs that read “We Will Not Be Silenced” and “My Body Belongs 2 Me.” In Wilmington, signs read “No Hate In My State” and “Women’s Rights Are Human Rights.” Marchers in Greensboro held up signs with “Respect Works Both Ways” and “We’re All God’s Children + Equal In Her Sight.”

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