'A love-in': Edmonton woman describes atmosphere at Washington's Women's March

Michelle Brewer was expecting a peaceful demonstration, and she got it. "It seemed like a love-in," she said.

Hundreds of thousands of people poured into the streets for the march Saturday

Michelle Brewer flew to Toronto where she took a bus to Washington D.C. with 600 other women. (Supplied)

Michelle Brewer was expecting a peaceful demonstration, and she got it.

"It seemed like a love-in," she said.

The feminist scholar from Edmonton was among the hundreds of thousands of people who went to Washington D.C. on Saturday to join the Women's March on Washington.

Brewer described the event as overwhelmingly positive.

"For hundreds of thousands of people, the excitement, the civility, the crowd … it was old people, young people, kids," she said. "You really, really felt like you were part of a momentum and the enthusiasm."

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      Local residents were energized, she said, as participants walked past homes filing through the streets to Capitol Hill.

      "People were out hanging out their windows, on their sundecks, at their doors, down their stairs …  at their walkway, cheering us on," she said.

      She didn't think the audio speakers were loud enough and the video screens big enough, but she could still hear Gloria Steinem and Michael Moore speak and Alicia Keys sing.

      The cheers, the chants and the slogans, Brewer said, "were all so positive."

      There were posters as far as the eye could see. She said there were signs for immigrants, for Muslims and for women.

      U.S. President Donald Trump was critical of the march at first, but has since called the marches "a hallmark of our democracy."

      Brewer believes his initial remarks defy the right to free speech.

      "That's what the country is supposedly built on and people were exercising it, bonding, galvanizing, I would say," she said.

      Armoured cars and security were present, according to Brewer.

      "Not all the police officers, but a lot of them were politely supportive," she said. "I never once felt scared."

      Women's marches were held in cities across the United States on Saturday. Thirty sister marches were held in Canada, including one at the Alberta legislature that drew between 3,500 and 4,000 people, according to security staff at the legislature.