The crowd was huge, and the speeches impassioned. Honestly, I thought the event last week in Westwood was far better, even if overwhelmingly smaller. The speakers were particularly good -- three congressmen (including famously now, Maxine Waters) and a lot of local and state officials. They talked about what could be done and what was being done -- and there even were busses for taking blankets and toys and necessities down to San Diego detention centers.
The speeches Downtown were mostly telling us what was bad and terrible and horrific about Trump and his administration and this action separating children from their parents, along with a lot of immigration stories about themselves, including one young woman who was undocumented and told about her mother and father bringing their family to California. To be clear, those speeches are incredibly valuable in building up emotion and support for unity. But for me, speaking only personally, I didn't need convincing.
I have no idea exactly how many people turned out there, though the Los Angeles Times reports "tens of thousands." MoveOn.org says 70,000. (This appears to have been the biggest in the country. They report Washington, D.C. and New York as each other 35,000. And Chicago at 60,000.) The crowds stretched in all directions -- this above is just looking at the rear. And when I left after 90 minutes, people were still arriving on the Metro trains with signs.
I did leave before the march, which is actually the main thing I was looking forward to. But after 90 minutes of speeches, I had no idea when the march would begin. And since I was pretty much convinced at that point that putting babies in cages was a sick way for the government or humans to act, I took off, knowing that there was a flowing mass of outraged, motivated people shouting their anger still as loudly as when it all began.
And everyone was absolutely civil. Just really, really, incredibly furious.