After huge anti-Trump protests fill major US and world cities, chairwoman and key advisers push deceptions about inauguration attendance

Donald Trump began his first full week as US president securely on the defensive, after millions of Americans took to the streets to protest against his election and the White House arrived under fire for brazenly lying to the public.

Rattled by the countrys biggest political demoessince the Vietnam war, Trump and his aides expended an extraordinary first weekend in office falsely claiming that record numbers of people had attended his swearing-in on Friday.

Trumps press secretary, Sean Spicer, used his first White House briefing to shout at journalists about what he incorrectly worded purposely false reporting on Trumps inauguration, proclaiming: Were going to hold the press accountable.

This was the largest audience ever to witness an inauguration, period, told Spicer, in one of several statements contradicted by photographs and transit data. These attempts to lessen the exuberance of the inauguration are shameful and wrong.

Kellyanne Conway, a senior White House aide, told NBCs Meet the Press on Sunday Spicer had simply been offering alternative facts, a phrase that was received with widespread astonishment.

Their statements followed an estimated 2. 6 million people in cities across the US attending protests in the form of womens processions. Demonstrators targeted Trump, who is accused of sexually harassing and assaulting more than a dozen women and was recorded boasting about groping girls by the crotch.

As many as a million people were estimated to have flooded the street of Washington DC for the days main procession. Hundreds of thousands more protested in cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston and in capitals across the world, including London.

The total was far greater than had been anticipated and easily exceeded the size of Trumps inauguration crowd the previous day. The Washington Metro system told 1,001, 616 trip-ups were taken on Saturday, compared with about 570,000 on Friday.

But the president on Sunday tried to play down the significance of the demoes. Watched protests yesterday but was under the impression that we just had an election, he said on Twitter. Why didnt these people vote?

A subsequently post to Trumps account said that he recognised the right of people to demonstrate.

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