PHOTOS: Women’s March through downtown Victoria draws crowds of activists, allies

The 2020 Women’s March on the Lekwungen and Wsanec territories included speeches, songs and a march up Government Street. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)The 2020 Women’s March on the Lekwungen and Wsanec territories included speeches, songs and a march up Government Street. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Friends, family and strangers alike marched side-by-side. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)Friends, family and strangers alike marched side-by-side. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
The 2020 Women’s March on the Lekwungen and Wsanec territories included speeches, songs and a march up Government Street. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)The 2020 Women’s March on the Lekwungen and Wsanec territories included speeches, songs and a march up Government Street. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Emily Smith holds up her poster stating “We are the granddaughters of the witches you could not burn.” (Devon Bidal/News Staff)Emily Smith holds up her poster stating “We are the granddaughters of the witches you could not burn.” (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
The 2020 Women’s March on the Lekwungen and Wsanec territories included speeches, songs and a march up Government Street. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)The 2020 Women’s March on the Lekwungen and Wsanec territories included speeches, songs and a march up Government Street. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
The Raging Grannies performed songs for march attendees in Centennial Square. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)The Raging Grannies performed songs for march attendees in Centennial Square. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Nine-year-olds Lillyanna Gordon and Maeve Barry were excited to attend their third Women’s March. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)Nine-year-olds Lillyanna Gordon and Maeve Barry were excited to attend their third Women’s March. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
The 2020 Women’s March on the Lekwungen and Wsanec territories included speeches, songs and a march up Government Street. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)The 2020 Women’s March on the Lekwungen and Wsanec territories included speeches, songs and a march up Government Street. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
The 2020 Women’s March attendees carried signs with messages of empowerment. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)The 2020 Women’s March attendees carried signs with messages of empowerment. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
The 2020 Women’s March attendees carried signs with messages of empowerment. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)The 2020 Women’s March attendees carried signs with messages of empowerment. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
The 2020 Women’s March attendees carried signs with messages of empowerment. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)The 2020 Women’s March attendees carried signs with messages of empowerment. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
The 2020 Women’s March attendees carried signs with messages of empowerment. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)The 2020 Women’s March attendees carried signs with messages of empowerment. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
The 2020 Women’s March on the Lekwungen and Wsanec territories included speeches, songs and a march up Government Street. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)The 2020 Women’s March on the Lekwungen and Wsanec territories included speeches, songs and a march up Government Street. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Charlotte Clar brought a sign stating that “Feminism is for everyone” in honour of her first Women’s March. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)Charlotte Clar brought a sign stating that “Feminism is for everyone” in honour of her first Women’s March. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
The 2020 Women’s March on the Lekwungen and Wsanec territories included speeches, songs and a march up Government Street. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)The 2020 Women’s March on the Lekwungen and Wsanec territories included speeches, songs and a march up Government Street. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

The 2020 Women’s March on the Lekwungen and Wsanec territories – downtown Victoria – drew a crowd on Jan. 18.

March attendees of all ages hoisted signs stating messages such as “No Means No,” “Silence is complicity” and “If it isn’t intersectional, it isn’t feminism.”

Despite the cold weather, hundreds of women, Two-Spirit and non-binary folks and their allies gathered outside the B.C. Parliament Buildings on Saturday at 11 a.m. for the fourth annual Women’s March.

Organizers said this year’s theme, “Women Rising 2020,” reflects the barriers faced by women, people of colour and marginalized genders while calling for action in the fight for rights.

Following a territory acknowledgement and several speeches, the group marched through downtown while other marches took place all over the world. They made their way up Government Street and into Centennial Square where more speakers shared their messages.

READ ALSO: Greater Victoria gears up for fourth annual Women’s March

Then, the crowd got to watch the Raging Grannies – a choir made up of spunky elderly women – perform a few songs.

First-time march attendee Charlotte Clar beamed while holding her “Feminism is for everyone” sign up in the air. She and her friend noted they came to support women with and without uteruses.

Some of the tinier attendees have been coming to marches for multiple years. Nine-year-old friends Lillyanna Gordon and Maeve Barry have attended two other Women’s Marches in the past. On Saturday, they stood in the crowd holding hot pink signs with empowering messages in bold black lettering. The youngsters bounced on their tiptoes trying to catch a glimpse of the speaker.

The downtown Victoria march has taken place annually since 2016. In the past, the event was organized by Women’s March Victoria, but this year, the group rebranded and became the Women’s March on the Lekwungen and Wsanec territories.

READ ALSO: New BC Ferries hybrid-electric vessels arrive in Victoria

“We’re trying to respect the fact that we’re on unceded territory and by using colonial names, we aren’t doing that,” said Linaya Bertschi, lead marshal and volunteer coordinator of the Women’s March.

She noted that many of the people doing activism in Greater Victoria are Indigenous women.

“They are carrying a lot of work for this whole community and there’s no better way to honour that than by respecting the fact that they are the stewards of this land.

Victoria police said they felt the march went smoothly. They noted that the crowd was smaller this year, likely due to the chilly weather and recent snowstorm.


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devon.bidal@saanichnews.com