Women's March 2018: Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson among stars to join huge protests across America

Nick Allen
Thousands joined a rally in Washington, DC as women marched in cities across the US - Barcroft Media

Thousands of protesters took to the streets for the second Women's March on Saturday.

They marked the first anniversary of Donald Trump's inauguration with rallies aimed at channelling female activism into political gains in elections this year.

Rallies in Washington, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and about 250 other cities were a reprisal of the mass protests that marked the beginning of Mr Trump's presidency.

On Washington's National Mall rally organiser Emily Patton said: "We will make our message heard at the polls this fall. That is why we are urging people to register to vote today."

The rallies also come during what has been seen as a pivotal year for women's rights with the #MeToo and #TimesUp social media effort against sexual harassment and abuse that followed a string of scandals in Hollywood, Washington and elsewhere.

Natalie Portman called for 'a revolution of desire' Credit: Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

"We want to continue the fight to resist this president and the policies we're against," said Sara Piper, 59, a geologist from Reston, Virginia.

The Washington march Credit: ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images

In Los Angeles, Eva Longoria, Natalie Portman, Viola Davis, Alfre Woodard, Scarlett Johansson, Constance Wu, Adam Scott and Rob Reiner were among the celebrities who addressed a crowd of hundreds of thousands of demonstrators.

Actress Scarlett Johansson speaks at a Women's March against sexual violence and the policies of the Trump administration Credit: AP

Longoria, who starred in TV's "Desperate Housewives," told marchers their presence matters, "especially when those in power seem to have turned their backs on reason and justice."

Portman, an Academy Award winner, talked about feeling sexualized by the entertainment industry from the time her first film, "Leon: The Professional," was released when she was 13 and suggested it's time for "a revolution of desire." In the 1994 film, Portman played a young girl taken in by a hit man after her family is killed.

Message: Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o in Los Angeles Credit: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

In New York 37,000 people had signed up on the march's Facebook page.

But the size of this year's rallies was expected to be well short of the estimated five million who marched in January 2017.

The New York march Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Michelle Saunders, 41, a software saleswoman at the Chicago rally, said: "A smaller crowd will not mean people are any less angry. We are unhappy with the current administration and what it stands for and want our voices to be heard."

March organisers want to register one million new voters ahead of November's mid-term elections and get more strong advocates for women's rights into office.

A White House spokesman did not respond to a request for comment on the marches.

Protestors made their voices heard in St Louis, Missouri Credit: Whitney Curtis/Getty Images

In Palm Beach, Florida several hundred people carrying anti-Trump signs gathered near Mr Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate.

Mr Trump said on Twitter: "Beautiful weather all over our great country, a perfect day for all Women to March.

"Get out there now to celebrate the historic milestones and unprecedented economic success and wealth creation that has taken place over the last 12 months. Lowest female unemployment in 18 years!"