Thousands of women were gathering in the US capital and across the country for their annual message opposing Donald Trump and supporting women's rights.

Women wear wall protest outfits as they stand in front of the Trump International Hotel while participating in the Third Annual Women's March in Washington, U.S. January 19, 2019.
Women wear wall protest outfits as they stand in front of the Trump International Hotel while participating in the Third Annual Women's March in Washington, U.S. January 19, 2019. (Reuters)

Women marched in hundreds of US cities and overseas on Saturday to mark the second anniversary of demonstrations that drew millions of protesters to the streets the day after Republican President Donald Trump's inauguration in January 2017.

Women's March, a national nonprofit organization that evolved from the initial Washington march, again hosted its main event in Washington, with hundreds of "sister" marches in other cities.

Co-presidents of the 2019 Women's March, Linda Sarsour, left, and Tamika Mallory, center, join other demonstrators on Pennsylvania Avenue during the Women's March in Washington. (January 19, 2019)
Co-presidents of the 2019 Women's March, Linda Sarsour, left, and Tamika Mallory, center, join other demonstrators on Pennsylvania Avenue during the Women's March in Washington. (January 19, 2019) (AP)

Leaders of both groups said they would use this year's marches to push policy related to raising the minimum wage, access to reproductive healthcare and voting rights, among other issues. They are aiming to mobilise women to vote ahead of the 2020 elections, when Trump is expected to be the Republican nominee for president.

Demonstrators hold signs on Pennsylvania Avenue during the Women's March in Washington. (January 19, 2019)
Demonstrators hold signs on Pennsylvania Avenue during the Women's March in Washington. (January 19, 2019) (AP)

Activists say the marches were a chance to celebrate the gains made in the 2018 elections, which saw more women elected to the US Congress than ever before.

US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, (D-New York) waves to the crowd after speaking at Women's Unity Rally organized by Women's March NYC at Foley Square in Lower Manhattan. (January 19, 2019)
US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, (D-New York) waves to the crowd after speaking at Women's Unity Rally organized by Women's March NYC at Foley Square in Lower Manhattan. (January 19, 2019) (AP)

The newly elected women - nearly all Democrats - include the first Muslim women and first Native American women in Congress, as well as the first black women to represent their states in New England. Many cited Trump's presidency among the reasons they decided to run for office.

Demonstrators hold signs during the Women's March in Washington. (January 19, 2019)
Demonstrators hold signs during the Women's March in Washington. (January 19, 2019) (AP)

As the political movement that grew out of hundreds of loosely affiliated marches in 2017 has grown, divisions have emerged.

Demonstrators take part in a march organized by the Women's March Alliance in the Manhattan borough of New York City. (January 19, 2019)
Demonstrators take part in a march organized by the Women's March Alliance in the Manhattan borough of New York City. (January 19, 2019) (Reuters)

In some cities, like New York and Washington, there was more than one march or demonstration due to criticism that some Women's March leaders are anti-Semitic - a charge those leaders have sought to dispel in recent interviews and statements.

A demonstrator holds a sign during in the Third Annual Women's March at Freedom Plaza in Washington, US. (January 19, 2019)
A demonstrator holds a sign during in the Third Annual Women's March at Freedom Plaza in Washington, US. (January 19, 2019) (Reuters)
Source: Reuters