MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Women in the Twin Cities and around the world turned out in record numbers the day after President Donald Trump was sworn in.
In Washington, D.C., police estimate nearly a half million people took part in the Women’s March. In St. Paul, the crowd blew past estimates and grew to nearly 100,000 people by early afternoon.
The group carried signs and listened to speakers on the grounds of the State Capitol. It was a peaceful demonstration. St. Paul police made only one arrest.
WCCO’s Angela Davis shows us how the unexpected actions of one counter-protester landed him in jail.
A sea of demonstrators took over the State Capitol grounds on Saturday as women and men marched. They voiced determination to protect their rights and offered messages to the nation’s newly-elected President.
“I had just never seen so many people come out for one cause,” Jake Tonsager said.
Jake Tonsager says one face stood out in the crowd: A man carrying a sign with an anti-gay message.
“People are constantly seeing this sign and interacting. Some say that really want to have a conversation, a lot of people yell at him, ask him questions,” Tonsager said.
Conversation turned to confrontation. Jake started recording video just as things got physical.
“I think he thought she was trying to grab a sign from him and it looks like then he punched her,” Tonsager said.
Jake says the counter-protester then pulled out pepper spray and shot it into the faces of those around him.
“He then steps back to a woman who is rubbing his back and saying ‘Everything is going to be okay,’ and you can see that in the video, shoots her in the face and then hits everybody around him,” Tonsager said.
Despite the disruption, Jake found the women’s march to be inspiring and powerful. He sees it as the first day of many days of action in the years to come.
“I think that is the message that came out of it. It’s not just showing up with your cute sign. It’s following through from here on out,” Tonsager said. “There is a lot more that needs to happen to make women feel safe, to make people feel safe in this country.”
St. Paul police tell us they arrested Paul David Pearson for his actions at the march. He remains in custody on suspicion of felony assault.