Police Arrested Counter-Protester Who Sprayed Chemicals Into Crowd

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Thousands of Minnesotans marched to the State Capitol Saturday as part of the national day of women’s marches across the country.

St. Paul police estimate between 90,000 and 100,000 people were there, making it the biggest rally in the city’s recent history.

PHOTO GALLERY: Women’s March Minnesota

These women’s marches happened all across the country and the world Saturday in response to the outcome of the presidential election. But President Donald Trump was barely mentioned by name.

Protesters and speakers said there is much more work to be done to protect the rights of women and minority groups.

The rally began with a march from St. Paul College toward the Minnesota State Capitol.

“We have a lot friends and loved ones that were concerned that the Trump administration is going to harm and we wanted to show solidarity for all of them,” Barb Jacobs said.

As nearly 100,000 people stood together, state lawmakers and representatives from minority groups made it clear — the result of the 2016 presidential election was not an ending, but a beginning of a long battle to protect the rights of women and marginalized groups.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

“Remember that you are mighty, you are powerful and united we will never be defeated,” Rep. Ilhan Omar said.

The fight for equal rights is not a new one, demonstrators explained.

“I don’t think today is about Donald Trump at all, but I definitely think that the fact that he won the election definitely inspired a huge fire and inspired a lot of people to come out today,” Mamou Kouyate said.

Turnout surprised even the organizers of the rally, who had expected half the number of people that showed up.

“When I look down and see the line of people just stretching all the way to the cathedral, I’m overwhelmed,” Cherste Eidman said.

For many, strength in numbers strengthened their spirits.

“It’s amazing. I am just grateful to be here. It makes me — I was saying, I think I’m feeling really hopeful. It’s a nice change from how I’ve been feeling for the last couple months,” Jen Johnson said.

St. Paul police had been working for weeks with event organizers to ensure safety.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

The police department said it made one arrest — an adult male counter-protester who marchers reported was spraying chemical irritants into the crowd.

He was booked into Ramsey County Detention Center for aggravated assault.

It took about 100 women who came together after to election to organize the Minnesota Women’s March.

They told WCCO they’re looking into forming an official nonprofit to keep hosting events like this and tackling issues of inequality.