Thousands to march in Chicago against Trump’s ‘anti-woman agenda’

In this file photo taken on January 20, 2018 protesters hold up a sign near the White House following the Women's March on Washington 2018: March On The Polls! on the National Mall in Washington DC. Energized by a bitter fight over a US Supreme Court justice nominee, thousands of women were expected to march Saturday in Chicago and cast early midterm election ballots against the "anti-woman agenda" of President Donald Trump's administration. (AFP / ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS)
Updated 12 October 2018
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Thousands to march in Chicago against Trump’s ‘anti-woman agenda’

  • Organizers timed the march to coincide with the run-up to the crucial November 6 midterm elections
  • They said similar marches fueled by anger over the Kavanaugh confirmation were scheduled later in October in other states
CHICAGO: Energized by a bitter fight over a US Supreme Court justice nominee, thousands of women were expected to march Saturday in Chicago and cast early midterm election ballots against the “anti-woman agenda” of President Donald Trump’s administration.
The protest organized by Women’s March Chicago was a sign of the political fallout from the partisan fight to confirm Trump’s nominee Brett Kavanaugh to the nation’s highest court despite sexual assault allegations.
Organizers timed the march to coincide with the run-up to the crucial November 6 midterm elections, when Democrats could wrest away control of the lower house of Congress from Republicans.
They said similar marches fueled by anger over the Kavanaugh confirmation were scheduled later in October in other states, including the Republican strongholds of Texas, Georgia and South Carolina.
“Women are very upset over the Kavanaugh confirmation and are fired up to vote,” Women’s March Chicago spokeswoman Harlene Ellin told AFP.
All but one Republican in the US Senate voted in favor of Kavanaugh’s elevation to the Supreme Court. All but one Democrat voted against.
Women’s March Chicago said in a statement that it was targeting the “anti-woman agenda of the White House and the Republican party.”
After a rally and a march, protesters were to be directed to early voting locations in downtown Chicago to cast ballots.
Republicans currently hold the White House and both chambers of Congress, but many in the GOP fear anti-Trump voters will overwhelm the president’s supporters in the midterm elections.
The protests came as early voting was ramping up in Illinois, and had already begun in more than a dozen other states. More will join in in the coming days.
Most states allow early voting by mail-in ballot or at a limited number of polling stations. The process allows those who cannot show up at polls on election day to have a chance to vote.
Chicago organizers insisted their event — where a giant “Baby Trump” balloon was to make an appearance — did not favor any one party, even though funding came largely from unions and Democrat-aligned groups.
“We want to take back the reins of a government that is out of control, and give to lawmakers who can steer us always in the right direction,” Women’s March Chicago organizer Eman Hassaballa Aly told a news conference earlier in the week.
Simultaneous marches were to be held in nearby cities in Republican areas of Illinois — outside of the Democrat-stronghold of Chicago.
“Our marching community is fired up to begin the process of voting out politicians who ignore, demean and disrespect women,” Women’s March Chicago said in a news release.
“With the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh, women across the country have been calling for marches more broadly where they can vocalize their dissatisfaction regarding his elevation to one of the most powerful positions in our country.”
Previous women’s march protests have included plenty of anti-Trump rhetoric. Protests in January shut down streets in dozens of American cities. In Chicago, hundreds of thousands marched.
The appearance of the “Baby Trump blimp” — as dubbed by British media — will be the first at a major American protest.
The inflatable was designed as a virtual poke in the eye at the president during his visit to Britain over the summer.
Activists in New Jersey created six duplicates, which they planned to float around the country.
After Chicago, it will next appear in Los Angeles and New York.


Afghan vote enters second day after series of bloody attacks, claims of mismanagement

Updated 27 min 47 sec ago
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Afghan vote enters second day after series of bloody attacks, claims of mismanagement

  • Election Commission said more than three million people out of 8.8 million managed to cast their vote on Saturday
  • On Sunday the Election Commission sent more ballot papers for 401 polling stations where people could not vote owing to attacks and irregularities

KABUL: Voting resumed for a second day on Sunday in Afghanistan where the process was marred by bloody attacks and claims of massive irregularities that deprived hundreds of thousands of people of votes for a new parliament.
The mismanagement claims have been seen as another sign of the government’s inefficiency in holding the ballot, which already has faced a delay of more than three years and comes six months ahead of the presidential vote.
The government said it added several thousand more forces to the 50,000 troops already deployed, to further protect some of the sites where polls could not be held on Saturday.
The Election Commission said more than three million people out of 8.8 million managed to cast their vote on Saturday and that on Sunday it had sent sufficient ballot papers and deployed officials to cover for 401 polling stations where people could not vote because of attacks and irregularities the previous day.
Ali Reza Rohani, a spokesman for the Electoral Complaints Commission, said in a news conference on Sunday that the irregularities that took place on Saturday would “damage the transparency” of the elections.
He said biometric devices, put in place to curb fraud, could not work in some stations, including Kabul, and various stations had not received the list of voters who had registered months ago for the ballot.
He said some stations opened an hour late.
The election is seen as key for Afghanistan’s political stability and legitimacy.
The government had already announced that polls could not take place in more than 2,000 voting stations because of security threats.
The Taliban staged scores of attacks on Saturday in a number of provinces including Kabul where at least 18 people died in two strikes. Unofficial estimates showed that over 70 civilians were killed and more than 300 wounded.
The casualties and irregularities were both unprecedented compared to election-related problems and violence that had happened in all of the previous rounds of elections held since the Taliban’s ouster.
Transparent Election Foundations of Afghanistan (TEFA), a polls watchdog, in its latest finding while citing the irregularities, said it could not operate fully to observe the process on Saturday because of security threats and because it was barred by the election commission and government from having access to election centers.
“It created many challenges for TEFA’s observers, for instance, 65 percent of our female observers left the polling centers because of security reasons, and unavailability of cellular connections in some of the provinces,” it said in a statement.
“In 29 percent of the polling centers, our observers were not allowed by IEC workers, security forces and armed men to observe the counting process.”