PHOTOS AND VIDEO | 7000-10,000 attend Women's March on Asheville

Thousands of people showed up for the rally and march on Saturday, wearing pink knit hats and carrying signs. Asheville police estimated the crowd at 6000-7000 participants.

Police acknowledge that was just an estimate. Organizers said the crowd was closer to 10,000.

Over three thousand people had expressed interest in the event on Facebook, which took place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, starting in Pack Square Park through downtown to the Vance Monument.

Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer opened the march, and other community leaders including Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Executive Director of the Campaign for Southern Equality, made remarks.

On Thursday, the following speakers were added:

  • Terry Van Duyn, North Carolina senator
  • Nikki Harris, Director of Philanthropy, Planned Parenthood
  • Reverend Deacon McDowell, All Souls Cathedral
  • Zeke (Ezekiel) Christopoulos and Rachel Lee Campbell, members of Tranzmission
  • Angélica Wind, executive director of Our VOICE
  • Iindia Pearson, community advocate/Green Opportunities

Organizers also said that all ages, and all who support the march's goals, are welcome to join what they described as a peaceful gathering. " We've been asked if men are welcome," organizers wrote in a Facebook post about the event. "Yes! This is an inclusive march."

There were women, children, and men—even a person dressed as Batman was attendance.

Following the speeches, the crowd headed towards the Buncombe County Courthouse; they were greeted by some opposition.

“I’m not against women's rights. But I'm against the right to kill babies in the womb,” counter-protester Mandy Keel said. “It does break my heart that there are so many people on this side and we have six, seven, eight of us over here. So, it's discouraging. But, I'm not completely discouraged."

On the other side of the issues, Leah Yetter told News 13 that she wasn’t too discouraged, either.

"I think it [the march] has an impact immediately and it will set the tone for more to come,” Yetter said. “It keeps people interested and aware."

The march ended back at the Vance Monument without any apparent confrontations between demonstrators and counter-protesters.

Nobody was arrested in connection with the march, according to Asheville police department spokesperson Lt. Wally Welch.

Organizers wrote on a public Facebook event that,"In solidarity with the Women's March on Washington, community members will march peacefully to show our new administration that we stand with our families and friends for the protection of our rights, safety, and health. We recognize that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our democratic society."

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