WASHINGTON – Fighting internal power struggles, including accusations of anti-Semitism, the Women's March that swept the political scene following the election of Donald Trump as president is attacking the streets of Washington on Saturday, accompanied by "marches." sisters "in hundreds of other United States. cities

But a cause that in 2017 attracted 3.3 million to 5.2 million throughout the country, which makes it the largest demonstration in the history of the United States, can now be lucky to attract half.

Demonstrations and rallies have been scheduled in Washington and at some 350 sites across the country to show opposition to Trump, to demand an end to violence against women and to promote equality.

Marches are planned throughout the country, from Boston to Los Angeles, to Dallas, Houston, Nashville and in smaller cities such as Burlington, Vermont and Grand Junction, Colorado.

People attended the March 2019 protest of Women for more women's rights on January 19, 2019 in Berlin, Germany. Organized by Democrats Abroad, the event coincides with Women's March that takes place today throughout the United States. (Photo: Carsten Koall, Getty Images)

There were also demonstrations in almost a dozen foreign cities, including Berlin, Rome and Kabul.

Even in cold, windy weather, the Bugnitz family flew from Columbus, Ohio, to attend the march after Sadie, 10, the daughter of Chris and Kristin, learned of a teacher's departure.

"It is really important for our family that girls and boys receive equal treatment and that we can hear all the voices," said Kristin Bugnitz.

"A lot of people like Trump are being rude and badist and trying to make sure that men only have the rights to do things," said Oliver Bugnitz, 7. "It's not fair."

The movement that galvanized the nation's capital with pink protest hats has been transformed from a demonstration of strength on the streets and sidewalks, into a mobilizing force at the polls.

As the movement has become a political power, it has also come up against headwinds in the form of splinter leadership and accusations of anti-Semitism against some of the original organizers.

The controversy, which drove the The Democratic National Committee and other groups to distance themselves from the Washington event threaten to erode the movement's gains, or at least slow its progress.

Without the motivation of Trump's election or the partial exams, this year's marches will face obstacles such as travel inconveniences due to federal closure, as well as Saturday's severe weather from the Midwest to New England.

"This is the biggest boost they're going to have," said Dana Fisher, a professor of sociology at the University of Maryland, author of the upcoming book "American Resistance."

"In general, making people march in the winter is difficult. It is a difficult question, and at this moment there is no obvious goal, except perhaps 2020 (the general election). I know Women's March Inc. says they're trying to use this as a pivot to start talking about doing more policy-based work, but I think it's not a good mobilizer. "

Somehow, the movement is the victim of its own successes, the power of women at the polls, a direct result of the strong performance in the 2018 midterms that sent a record number of women to politics and Congress.

Women, especially those living in the suburbs, helped boost the 40 seats of Democrats in the House of Representatives, changing control of that chamber. A record 102 women, 89 of them Democrats, were elected to the House in November.

"You can draw a direct line with the 5 million people who marched that day and our subsequent effort to impact the elections in the composition of the current Congress as the most diverse Congress that has been elected," said Vanessa Wruble, one of the main Organizers. of the first march. "You already see that the movement changes from reactive to proactive."

However, with the growth has come distrust and division.

Much of the controversy stems from the refusal of the Women's March co-chair Tamika Mallory to condemn the Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrakhan, an advocate of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories that recently described the Jews as "Termites".

A detailed story from the Jewish online magazine Tablet said that the board members of Women's March, Mallory and Carmen Perez, whom Wruble recruited to add diversity to the original four-member organizing group, confronted her about the role that Jews had in the oppression of minorities.

Wruble, who is Jewish, was asked to leave the group shortly after the first march, and she told The New York Times that her religion was a factor. Later, she co-founded March On, an organization that provides support and guidance to groups led by women across the country, and estimates that 50 percent of Saturday's "sister marches" will have received group support.

Representative Debbie Wbaderman-Schultz (D-Fla.), Who attended the March of Women in 2017, published an opinion article in USA TODAY on Friday that says she is "moving away" from the Women's March.

"I can not badociate with the leaders and principles of the national march, who refuse to completely reject anti-Semitism and all forms of intolerance," wrote Wbaderman-Schultz. "I can not walk shoulder to shoulder with the leaders who block their arms with the hate peddlers."

Fisher said the controversy is taking its toll.

"Women's March Inc. does not own the women's movement, and it certainly is not the owner of this march, which has been a combination of all these efforts distributed locally throughout the country," he said. "It's a pity that the bad press has this effect."

While Women & # 39; s March Inc. has repeatedly denied the charges of anti-Semitism, the issue was further inflamed when Mallory, a co-chair of Women's March, appeared on ABC's "The View" on Monday and declined. to denounce the frequent anti-Semitic statements of Farrakhan, whom she has publicly praised.

Women's March Inc. provided a statement on Saturday's "sister marches," most of which are not affiliated with the group.

"The Women's March is an organic movement, made up of the fierce energy and power of millions of women and those who support them," the statement said. "We are thrilled to see hundreds of marches springing up in small towns, suburbs and cities across the United States and around the world, we march in 2017. In 2018, we take our power to the polls, and in 2019, we will arrive with an agenda created by women and for people. "

In addition to addressing violence against women, that agenda includes issues such as reproductive rights, racial justice and the rights of immigrants. The objectives are valuable enough for sponsors such as the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood to remain on board.

A coalition of more than 100 Jewish Color Women supporters signed a letter of support for the Women's March.

On the other hand, the Jewish Democratic Council of America issued a statement that joined the DNC and other groups that withdrew from the organization of the Women's March, although it was not the cause itself.

Contributing: Jorge L. Ortiz

Read or share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/01/19/womens-march-back-amid-divisions-350-sister-marches-set/2623810002/