Womens March San Diego
State Sen. Toni Atkins spoke to the crowd of tens of thousands before the 2017 Women’s March in San Diego, and she is again expected to speak to marchers Saturday. Photo by Chris Stone

Updated at 4 p.m. Jan. 20, 2018

Thousands of people marched through downtown San Diego and San Marcos in the second annual Women’s March Saturday.

The San Diego event began at 10 a.m. at the downtown Waterfront Park on Pacific Highway, while the North County event began at 11 a.m. at Palomar College. The two marches were held in conjunction with other marches across the country.

Speeches continued at the San Diego event for about an hour before marchers started to make their way through a circuit on the west side of downtown that was blocked to vehicle traffic by police.

Speakers included state Sen. Toni Atkins, Nancy Nagle of the Santa Ysabel Kumeyaay Nation, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez and Councilwomen Barbara Bry and Georgette Gomez.

This year’s theme, “Hear Our Vote” was meant to engage voters to support women’s rights, human rights, social and environmental justice, and to encourage participation in the 2018 midterm elections.

“Look at all of us,” Bry said. “This is our time. This is our year. We can, and we must, put women where they belong — in public office everywhere.”

Gomez told marchers that San Diego, in its location just north of the U.S.-Mexico border, is a “binational” city, and the multiculturalism it represents should be celebrated.

“And if (President Donald) Trump wants to build a wall, what are we going to do? Stand up, fight back,” she said. “Let’s continue to do the work. Let’s continue to demand justice. Continue to demand a better world.”

In a nod to the Kumeyaay Nation members present, 2018 Women’s March director Monica Boyle told the crowd that she wanted to “acknowledge that the land on which we live is the unseated territory of the Kumeyaay people whose land extends where we stand to halfway (into) what is now known as Baja California.”

Boyle said the crowd at this year’s march was even bigger than last year’s, though San Diego Police Department officials estimated about 37,000 people attended Saturday’s march (last year’s estimate was between 30,000 and 40,000 people).

Coaster and Amtrak Pacific Surfliner rail service were halted in San Diego County this weekend to allow crews to complete improvements, but replacement bus services were made available to shuttle attendees to the downtown march.

Amtrak also opted to run trains every half-hour until 3:15 p.m. between Old Town San Diego and Santa Fe Depot, and the Metropolitan Transit System increased bus and trolley service.

–City News Service